http://kjpermaculture.blogspot.com/2010/12/make-mine-of-mud.html FIRST EARTH is a documentary about the movement towards a massive paradigm shift for shelter — building healthy houses in the old ways, out of the very earth itself, and living together like in the old days, by recreating villages. An audiovisual manifesto filmed over the course of 4 years and 4 continents, FIRST EARTH makes the case that earthen homes are the healthiest housing in the world; and that since it still takes a village to raise a healthy child, it is incumbent upon us to transform our suburban sprawl into eco-villages, a new North American dream.
It was a lot of fun to watch.... so how do I build an earth house? Ok, lets expand on what I mean with that question. We have a thing called the building code. It specs many things... size of rooms, egress for each room, outlets required per linear foot or meters of wall..... blah, blah, blah... oh yeah, and what those walls can be made of. I can build a mud shed (10by10) or a brick house (brick facing on sticks)... I guess I will have to wait for economic collapse
Warren David wrote: Len, you mean you can't build earth houses in your area? Whereabouts in Australia are you?
Comox valley, Vancouver Island, Canada. There have been some adobe houses built on the mainland, one was shown in the video... but you will note it was 10 by 10 in a garden (to get around permitting). Others have been built as experiments too, so the climate is not the show stopper either. So it would be the big money hiring an engineer who was willing to study the process and sign off a plan as well as probably lab testing whatever earth I was using to be certain of its characteristics. It would be cheaper to go cinder block, using well understood building practices and well understood materials. I could fill many of the hollows in the block with earth as mass.
Right now I am not to worried about it as we are in a house and planning to stay a while. The plan right now is to make this urban house as "off grid" as possible. I got rid of natural gas (my total energy bill is down) and am working to reduce my hydro as far as possible. A RMH is in the works (when it gets a little warmer for more outside work) as well as some solar/wind projects. All of this is learning for the future.
The plan down the road... Is to have a little more land than the city lot we have now and build a passively heated house with as much natural lighting as I can. I am not sure how I am going to set up cooking... probably propane at first with wood taking over at some point. There is not that much sun here, but there are some months where we could probably do all solar cooking. Other times perhaps we could at least have solar assisted cooking. I would also like to do a lot more retained heat cooking (haybox is another term). I am experimenting with all of these things while we live in the city (Courtenay is small as cities go at 20000). The big thing is not making these things work... I can do that much, but making the doing convenient so that my Yf will pick up on it too. The reality is one never knows the future... everything is "God willing".
We want to have a lot more control of our food, but we need to start growing our own food right now where we are on this little lot... I should probably be raising rabbits for food to learn slaughtering, storing... animal raising and even hide preserving. The Comox Valley is fertile and full of wild life. I need to be learning more foraging than just picking blackberries There are abundant fish both fresh water and ocean and lots of deer and other game. I plan to grow my own firewood (sticks) as well.
Lots of plans it will be interesting to see how it goes. If I can teach my sons and grandkids (should such people arrive) some of these things, that will have been time well spent.
One of the points the video made that I really like was the lack of community in North America. Things have changed even here in the past 50 years. I remember as a child being able to visit any house on the block.... visiting friends without worrying about setting a time or date. My Yf comes from a culture even more open than I remember. They would visit house to house going down the street on Christmas day for example... and expect to have a steady flow of people through their own house. The phone is a great invention, but has it made us a nation of hermits? (or was that the TV?) The video is right when it hints that we are a sick people.
Len wrote:There have been some adobe houses built on the mainland, one was shown in the video... but you will note it was 10 by 10 in a garden (to get around permitting). Others have been built as experiments too, so the climate is not the show stopper either. So it would be the big money hiring an engineer who was willing to study the process and sign off a plan as well as probably lab testing whatever earth I was using to be certain of its characteristics. It would be cheaper to go cinder block, using well understood building practices and well understood materials. I could fill many of the hollows in the block with earth as mass.
These engineers will do calcs for earthen buildings, but they are in the American part of Australia: