Rammed Earth is a very effective means of doing this, if you have the right forms and the right soil consistency. Too much sand, and not enough clay or silt, for instance, and you are going to have issues, but rammed earth can be added to the growing list in this thread. ...ala William B
Maybe rammed earth walls might be a more environmentally sound and cheaper option
Alternatives include earthbags, gabions, blocks of compressed tires,soil cement,slip form stone walls.
I like Dale's gabion cage ideas. I have often thought, after being introduced to the idea from Dale, that this is the cheapest and fastest way to build structural mass, and it gives a nice outer layer with which to adhere cob or stucco. In regards to creating dense thermal mass with it, I was thinking that a person could fill the gabions a little slower, mallet packing dirt material around the large stones, or mortaring it with cob, around the outer edges of the gabion especially. This would ensure that there was more density to gain and retain thermal mass into it's center, rather than just a rock basket, with a lot of air spaces between stones.
Thick gabion walls offer the benefits of thermal mass,
This doesn't have to be the case, but you should keep in mind, Jeremy, that in order to build an earthship, or almost any alternative structure, you are going to need help. Extra labor, volunteer or otherwise, is essential to such endeavors, or it's potentially going to bury you.
I've only seen one finished earth ship. It has been a colossal failure, in energy wasted, and in using up a major chunk of a man's life.
Doug Kalmer wrote:
...Slipforming is an old building method where wooden forms are set up wall thickness apart. A flat-faced stone is placed against a form, and concrete is poured in behind the stone, forming a wall with embedded stones facing out. Once the concrete has set up, another layer of forms is placed on top, and the process is repeated.
Now, with two (or more) layers of forms up and concrete set up, you can remove the bottom forms and leapfrog them up the wall, thus greatly conserving form lumber, as you work your way up and along the wall.
Most stones are not very large and heavy. Flat-faced stones do not have to be very thick to cover a fair amount of wall. The heaviest piece of wood in my house is easily heavier than the heaviest stone.
Bryant RedHawk wrote:I believe that if you start replacing the thick tires (soil thickness not the tire thickness) then you are moving away from earthship design as I understand it.
As far as the reduction of issues, yes it would work better but it is not serving the function of re-purposing that the earthship was designed to do.
As far as the thermal mass, it would be able to have more thermal energy stored, thicker is better, black it the right color for thermal mass storage.
My understanding of the RMH is that the heat comes through the exaust pipe (flue) so I don't think you could run one RMH to heat an entire floor area, perhaps two to three would be needed.
John C Daley wrote:OK, I have to ask, what are CMU's?