Earth Day: Saving the Planet One Wall at a Time

Posted on Apr 22 2015 - 9:30am by Suzanne De Vita
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This gives new meaning to the term “groundbreaking.”

While the rest of us struggle to recycle junk mail, a select few are saving the planet by constructing homes made of rammed earth – locally sourced clay, gravel and sand walls that trump anything Etsy or farmers markets can offer. And though its roots trace back to ancient civilizations, rammed earth walls are rapidly becoming fixtures in the homes of today’s elite.

Rammed earth homes stand the test of time – “indefinitely,” reports the USDA. Unlike adobe or cob mixtures, which are often installed within an existing structure, rammed earth materials are compressed, sometimes with the addition of cement or a stabilizer, in a frame that produces solid walls or bricks with no structural support needed. And because the materials are widely available (and usually nearby), construction waste is minimal.

Related: Next in Green Building: Passive Houses for the Sophisticated Buyer

What’s more, rammed earth walls can absorb heat in daytime and release it at night, significantly reducing energy consumption in certain climates. And the neighbors will love it – they’re inherently soundproof, fireproof and termite-resistant.

Go ahead and rip out that Himalayan pink salt wall - we won’t judge.

Here are just a few examples of what a rammed earth home could look like. For more examples, head here!

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Cement stabilized rammed earth (4-10 percent) has become a popular building material in Australia and New Zealand.

rammed earth home

Copper House, Las Vagas, Nevada. The upper level is supported by rammed earth.

rammed earth texas

Westlake Hills, Texas. This home has two-foot-thick walls that make the building so energy efficient, it received a 5-star energy rating from the City of Austin Green Building Program.

Tidal Rammed Earth

The Tidal Resonance Chamber, Tacoma, Wash. Local earths were slightly colored with iron oxides to match the patina of the port. Using different oxides will color your walls. Designed by Robert Horner.

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Rammed earth home in California by Nick Noyes.

 

1 Comment so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. HealthyForGenerations July 1, 2020 at 12:03 pm - Reply

    Marvelous internal designs and unique building structures as well.

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