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! Our earthbag earthship  RSS feed

 
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Good question! The outward curve of a round wall is extremely strong against pressure outside. We also reinforce our walls with rebar. A straight wall or inward curve wouldn't be nearly as strong.
 
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Where is the best place to buy small quantities of earth bags?
 
pollinator
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Location: Clemson, SC ("new" Zone 8a)
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@Morgan - What an awesome build!  The switch from rammed-earth tires to earth bags seems to me a very smart choice. Thanks for posting so many video updates.  It is wonderful to watch your progress from step to step, and I must say that you are making great progress.  Is your floor plan posted anywhere?  I would love to examine more closely how you designed this space.

Also, since your first updates are from after your scratch coat of plaster was applied, I was unable to guess how you tied your plaster to the wall.  In my own experience (straw bale), it isn't really a problem, as the plaster keys very well directly onto the straw, but I am guessing that you must have used a lathe or other substrate of some type on which to hang your base coat?
 
Morgan Caraway
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Melissa White wrote:Where is the best place to buy small quantities of earth bags?



I usually buy 1000 14" x 26" at a time off of Ebay. You can find 100 bags for under $40 on Amazon or Ebay.
 
Morgan Caraway
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Matthew Nistico wrote:@Morgan - What an awesome build!  The switch from rammed-earth tires to earth bags seems to me a very smart choice. Thanks for posting so many video updates.  It is wonderful to watch your progress from step to step, and I must say that you are making great progress.  Is your floor plan posted anywhere?  I would love to examine more closely how you designed this space.



Hello Matthew. Yes, I agree that earthbags and some of the principles of earthship design work very well together. Here's a picture of our floor plan:

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Morgan Caraway
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Matthew Nistico wrote:since your first updates are from after your scratch coat of plaster was applied, I was unable to guess how you tied your plaster to the wall.  In my own experience (straw bale), it isn't really a problem, as the plaster keys very well directly onto the straw, but I am guessing that you must have used a lathe or other substrate of some type on which to hang your base coat?



Earth plaster sticks to polypropylene sandbags very well and keys in between the bags nicely. No lathe or mesh is needed.
 
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Location: Central Oklahoma
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In the link it states "They can also be used to build extremely strong structures that are inherently resistant to most hazards that would readily destroy a stick-frame house."  How earthquake resistant are they for locations like here in shakey Oklahoma?
RileyG
 
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@Morgan - I am so excited to see your progress. We are in the process of starting our Earthbag home and your posts have helped my husband get a vision of what I have planned. Excellent job documenting your process. Thank you so much!
 
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Location: Alberta, Canada
cat urban
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William Grotts wrote:In the link it states "They can also be used to build extremely strong structures that are inherently resistant to most hazards that would readily destroy a stick-frame house."  How earthquake resistant are they for locations like here in shakey Oklahoma?
RileyG



Hello, I have heard that earthbag can survive 0.8 g earthquake.

Here is a link to a paper where they tested the shear strength of different kinds of earthbag walls:
https://buildsimple.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/estimated-shear-strengths-ce.pdf

This is an example of an eathbag build in a region with lots of seismic activity in Nepal (lots of construction pictures):
http://www.earthbagbuilding.com/projects/nepalschool.htm

Also i think modern earthbag building was pioneered by Nader Khalili in california, which as we know rests on a fault line, and his earthbag domes are actually code approved for seismic risk regions. You can probably find some useful info at his CalEarth website too.
 
Matthew Nistico
pollinator
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@Morgan - Thanks for the extra info!  Wow, I didn't realize that the stuffed poly bags had enough surface texture to hold plaster.  Cool.

I know that your north walls are only bermed up half their height.  Still, are you at all worried about the structural integrity of the concave portion of wall spanning from the 2nd bedroom across the man cave?  If so, what extra precautions or relevant construction details did you incorporate into the wall to help in this regard?
 
author
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Location: Lasqueti Island BC
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Wow, thanks for sharing your experience! Such a good conversation about materials and methods. The place looks beautiful, congratulations.
 
Morgan Caraway
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Matthew Nistico wrote:I know that your north walls are only bermed up half their height.  Still, are you at all worried about the structural integrity of the concave portion of wall spanning from the 2nd bedroom across the man cave?  If so, what extra precautions or relevant construction details did you incorporate into the wall to help in this regard?



Hello Matthew - sorry, I wasn't aware of your post until now. There is a framed wall that butts up against the middle of that part of the back wall and that is tied into the roof. Also, it isn't a full berm there but less than half way up the wall. We added rebar through the EB wall for extra support. Everything seems very stable in that area but as you guessed, that would be the weakest part against pressure from the outside.
 
Morgan Caraway
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Thanks @ jess Ó hEalaighthe for sharing that info on seismic tests.

This person shares first hand experience about their EB house and earthquakes: Earthbag and earthquakes. My guess would be that a round structure would handle earthquakes better than a square or rectangular one.
 
Morgan Caraway
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We've planned our biggest workshop yet. It will offer participants hands on experience with earthbag, cob, cordwood, bottle wall, and earthen plasters and will go over many aspects of natural building. It's currently $200 off until July 15th. More info available at sustainablelifeschool.com.



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Morgan Caraway
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I made a short trailer for the instructional video I'm working on. What do you think? I will launch a modest indiegogo campaign in the coming days for those who would like to get it at a reduced price.

 
Morgan Caraway
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I made a short video about our story:

 
Matthew Nistico
pollinator
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Location: Clemson, SC ("new" Zone 8a)
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Nice video.  Hope your workshops this fall went well.  Gotta pay for that 100-story megaplex somehow  ; )
 
Morgan Caraway
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Thanks Matthew! Yes, the megaplex is expensive but the view from the penthouse is INCREDIBLE!
 
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