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Earthbag construction — building with polypropylene bags usually filled with earthen materials — is a versatile, easy-to-master, low-impact, and highly durable form of building, suitable for structures from houses to root cellars. Containing over 75 photos and illustrations, Essential Earthbag Construction is a practical guide to this affordable method of building. Going well beyond the scope of other sources, this indispensable manual is packed with all the information you need to determine if it's the right choice for your project, and to start building. Distilling decades of experience, research, and best practices, it covers: Material specifications, performance, and when and where to use it Pros and cons of different fills from gravel, to earth and clay, to insulative perlite, rice hulls, and volcanic stone Illustrated, step-by-step guidance for efficient bag filling and installation Details for various designs, including domes and arches Foundation options and seismic and stability considerations Finishing and maintenance techniques Tools and materials Additional resources. Essential Earthbag Construction presents the practical guidance and best practices for both the DIYer and professional to design and build high-quality earthbag structures. Kelly Hart is an earthbag builder, author, and filmmaker, and hosts the widely visited websites www.greenhomebuilding.com and www.earthbagbuilding.com. His multi-dome earthbag Colorado residence is chronicled in the video Building with Bags: How We Made Our Experimental Earthbag/Papercrete House. Kelly lives in Silver City, New Mexico.
Everything you need to know to build with rammed earth in warm and cold climates. Rammed earth – sand, gravel, and clay or lime/cement binder packed into forms – is a low-energy, high-performance building method, yielding beautiful, sustainable results. It’s thermally stable and can be insulated, can actively modulate humidity, provides a healthy indoor environment, and allows site materials to be used for major structural and building envelope elements. Essential Rammed Earth Construction covers design, building science, tools, and step-by-step building methods for any climate, with a special emphasis on building in cold climates of the northern US, Canada, and northern Europe. Coverage includes:Overview of earthen building Appropriate use of rammed earth walls Stabilized versus raw rammed earth Design considerations, including structural, insulation, and building envelope details Special considerations for cold and freeze-thaw climates Construction drawings, with step-by-step building instructions Tools and labor covering industrial methods, low-tech techniques, formwork options, mix design, budgets, and schedules Codes, inspections, and permits. This guide is an essential resource for experienced builders, DIY home owners, designers, engineers, and architects interested in learning about rammed earth construction.
Design a rainwater harvesting system for any home in any climate. Water is a crucial resource increasingly under stress. Yet rainfall, even in arid climates, can make up a sizable portion of any home, acreage, or farm's water requirements if harvested and utilized with care. The key is appropriate planning and high-quality site- and climate-specific design. Essential Rainwater Harvesting is a comprehensive manual for designing, building, and maintaining water harvesting systems for the warm and cold climates of the world. Presenting design considerations and approaches for the most common household rainwater supply scenarios – primary, supplemental, and off-grid supply – this step-by-step approach covers: Considerations for full-property water security Demand planning and conservation strategies Supply calculations and design implications for extreme rainfall and drought Materials selection and water quality System and site assessment Sizing and design of gutters, conveyance, tanks, and pumps Pre-filtration, filtration, and disinfection options System maintenance and upkeep This practical resource provides DIYers, trades, and rainwater practitioners with the essential tools, methods, and technical know-how to design, build, and maintain rainwater harvesting systems anywhere. Rob Avis, P.Eng and Michelle Avis, P.Eng own and operate Adaptive Habitat, a leading edge property design firm for resilient homes, acreages, and farms and Verge Permaculture, a globally recognized award-winning education business. They have over 20 years of combined experience in project management, ecological design, and sustainable technologies, which they share at vergepermaculture.ca from their suburban house and yard that they've transformed into a model of cold climate urban permaculture in Calgary, Alberta.
From wastestream to mainstream, a practical guide to composting toilet systems. Composting toilets are a key feature for local resilience, money saving, water conservation, resource recovery, septic system replacement, and an improved bathroom experience in rural and urban buildings. Essential Composting Toilets is a streamlined manual that takes a practical, how-to approach to composting toilet system selection, design, installation, and operation, while meeting universal health and safety objectives. Drawing from existing regulations and research, this book dispels myths and provides tools to assess various systems. It includes: Easily-understood drawings, plans, and photos Coverage of all main composting toilet systems Selection criteria including site considerations, urine separation pros/cons, renovations/new builds, ventilation, servicing, and composting details Design and installation details. Offering a professional approach accessible to DIYers, homeowners, designers, building consultants, water conservation advocates, and regulators, Essential Composting Toilets provides key information for redesigning toilet systems anywhere in the world.
Natural plasters made of clay, lime, and other materials mixed with sand are beautiful building finishes. Fun to work with, low-impact, and allowing infinite creativity, they are high performance and provide proven, centuries-long durability. Yet until now there's been no resource that has pulled together the best North American plaster recipes and how-to into one place. Essential Natural Plasters covers it all: Sourcing and selecting materials, including site-soils Clay, lime, and gypsum plasters as well as fibers and amendments Interior and exterior use and specialty plasters such as tadelakt for bathrooms Preparing substrates, from straw bales and cob to lath and sheetrock How to set-up a safe, efficient worksite Mixing, testing, tinting, and applying plasters and plaster repair Coveted recipes from leading plasterers in Ontario, Vermont, New Mexico, France, and New Zealand. Richly illustrated and deeply researched, Essential Natural Plasters is the must-have resource for owner-builders and professionals alike. Michael Henry plastered his way across Ontario for a decade. His research, attention to detail, and mad-scientist plaster experiments have made him a noted expert and teacher in the field. Michael lives in Peterborough, Ontario with his wife and two children. He shares his knowledge at thesustainablehome.net. Tina Therrien started plastering in 1997 with Camel's Back Construction, Ontario's first straw bale company. A founding member of the Ontario Natural Building Coalition, she is co-author of More Straw Bale Building and operates Shelter By Hand, a timber framing company, in Low, Quebec, where she lives with her partner and daughter.
BUILDING WITH THE EARTH BOOK

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