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East Texas Climate

 
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Hey all, I live in east texas near Dallas and an very interested in building an earthbag home. My husband says that thermal mass is perfect for this climate, but I feel like we might need to insulate a bit. We want to add lime or another hardening agent to the on site soil and just use that. I keep trying to find out what we need for this climate but all I can find are vague terms to describe climate like 'moderate', 'extreme', 'tropical', etc. Can someone please help me or direct me somewhere where I can figure out what numbers fall into those categories so I know if I need to insulate or not. It gets into the hundreds in the summer and average winter low is 30 degrees. Thank you!!
 
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Insulating the eb walls helps, but not a must for your location. Decent roof overhang to shad walls (or trellis arbors) andLay low with the west and north windows, a light (lime) exterior plaster, Plenty of cross venting for summer nights, maybe combination of some earth tube, low tech evap cooling, berming, or solar chimney, for passive cooling. good utilization of these techniques can get you cool in the summer without insulation. Seen it there. Passive solar heating for winter. Interior thermal mass walls would be a wise choice. Insulate the roof obviously (unless an eb dome).
Also, I bet there is tons of suitable soil near you that wouldn't need amendment. Good termite barriers are a must out there.
 
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Location: Asheville NC
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Thermal mass walls work best when there is a wide diurnal temperature swing between day and night that brackets the 65-80 human comfort range. How cold does it get there on all those summer nights? Do you think those thermal mass walls will perform well in the winter with a week long cold snap? I would MUCH prefer insulation to thermal mass walls in your climate.
 
Michelle Lasher
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Thank you, I think I will try to find some more info for my husband so he will consider insulating. It doesn't get cool enough during the night in the middle of summer or warm enough in the winter to not have to use central heat and AC, and I would hate for it to all be leaking through the walls. However, fall and spring would be amazing with thermal mass walls. Lately it has been 70 during the day and 50 at night. I would appreciate some opinions on how to go about making sure we don't get termites, and we would especially like to make sure we keep fire ants away. We were thinking mixing our soil with lime to harden it a bit to deter them and maybe also some boric acid or diatomaceous earth. What do you think? I was also wondering if anyone has any information on tamped earth floors and fire ants. Thank you!
 
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