Welcome from Atlanta!
What about cob? Or is that what you mean by light clay?
Also, from what I understand from Christina Ott, there is a section of the code that covers adobe/clay building.
I am in a similar situation, planted in Athens, GA. We do not have our land yet, but anticipate buying it next year. I am interested to see which avenues in homebuilding that you pursue. I also think it best to build piece by piece, instead of taking out a large mortgage and then paying 3X its value over time.
Perhaps there is a like-minded community who would contribute to a labor pool to help one another with our "home-raisings"over the next few years?
First, build a place using IOS shipping containers.
I just registered and found this thread. I have 7 acres of raw agriculture land with no buildings or restrictions on it in Dawson County, N. GA near Amicalola Falls. I am going through the same mental exercise of trying to decide what to build.
I just found this forum and I'm curious how the planning is going?
My family and I live in a small cob house a few miles outside of Athens, Ga. My husband is building a cob studio as well. I can say that yes, you need to plan for humidity and mold even if you aren't close to the coast....the house we live in was built by a lot of different people over several years and has some issues with mold. My husband came into the tail end of construction and did some of the cobbing, all of the plasters and the earthen floor. We learned a lot about how not to build by taking on someone's project ( a chunk of this house was built by people not having a good knowledge of building and workshop people). Even with all of that, we are still in love with cob and still building with it for the studio. The studio is a timber frame with cob and an earthen floor. Either my husband or I would be glad to chat about what we've learned along the way. firstname.lastname@example.org
There's also an amazing straw bale house a little south of here that's beautiful and was the first straw bale home built to code in Georgia. It was in Mother Earth News a few years back.
Best of luck with the building and glad to know there's a community of permaculture folks growing in Georgia.
Forgot to add one additional technique to the list of things we've been interesrted in -
Compressed earth block - looks labor intensive, makes good use of clay/sand soil (of which we have quite a lot to spare), uses some cement, slight concerns about durability in a wet climate, very cool manual block press available from India, good thermal mass/poor insulation quality, possible code approval concerns.
I think we may end up getting a CEB machine and using it to make bricks for places where bricks are appropriate even if it does not end up being the primary building material.