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building with cob in vermont  RSS feed

 
christoph Berger
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hi i would like peoples advice on building with cob in vermont. i hear lots of people say its not suitable for such a northern climate. i also hear some people say you can make it work if you deisgn the building well and i know that cob buildings are used traditionally even over northern europe.
so this is how i am building it.
its on a southern hillside in a sunny forest clearing. thatched roof will insulate well with 10 inches of reeds. it is 21 by 11 feet on the ground and the walls are low. its only one story with a catherdral celing so to speak.
because its built on a slope, my house has higher walls on the southern end of it to make up for the slope of the land because its facing south. so the southern wall is a lot higher than the northern wall and would probably be good for the thermal mass to collect sunlight and heat. so the northern wall is like 6 feet high plus the 7 foot triangle on top which is the gable. the southern wall is like 8 feet high with the same 7 foot trianlgle of the roof (i hope your following me here)
anyways the side walls facing east and west are both low because the gable is facing north south so the walls are lower there ya know like 6-8 feet on the slope... andyways i hope you can basically picture this but i am essentially trying to build the thing with much higher southern walls as i described and it is on a southern slope in full sun. also the house is small (11by 21 feet on the ground) so i am wondering if with all these things it may be a reasonably heat efficient home with these things making up to some extent for the poor insulation values of cob. i am planning to do an adobe floor and heat with wood. some good windows on the southern end.
i would like to do cob walls if they can be reasonably efficient. i dont want the walls thicker than 8 inches. Basically im wondering if it is reasonable to build this with cob walls without it being wicked cold
please give me your advice. also if you have other ideas on how to make it more heat efficient with cob. going to put lots of straw in the mix to maybe help give better insulation.
Thanks!

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southern wall is largest
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the frame of the house (taken from the north)
 
christoph Berger
Posts: 18
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i would consider putting stuff into the walls for insulation like a layer of reeds coated in clay between two layers of cob, or other stuff... got to be natural, would like to stay low on the budget
 
richard valley
Posts: 247
Location: Sierra Nevada mountain valley CA, & Nevada high desert
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Hi Christoph, Just read your post. Do you have the material on your land to make Cob? If your mineral earth is correct, I think I would make instead Mud Brick. It's a lot of work to do Cob, that I think is better suited for warmer areas. With less work and a small Cement Mixer you can make brick, the forms are easy to make and you'll have a real building. I have a place where I'm tempted to do that, for animal shelter and food storage. There are sites that show the making of brick and describe the construction.


Richard
 
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