Saturday, June 26, 2010

ecoBUILD techologies

update 2012: new website-EcoSteps
ecoBUILD techologies has this hybrid of sand filled bags and their ecobeam, which is small lumber with a metal zig-zag in between. It was developed in South Africa as an affordable housing option requiring no skills, just perseverance, bags, and sand. Their is also a division in Israel, which markets their homes to a wealthier market.

As someone aware of the need for housing in Haiti, I think this is fantastic. With the addition of rebar ties between the floor and ceiling plate, I think this simple technology would be great in Haiti. The addition of the rebar would be for earthquake stability.

Even the Earthbag Building blog has an article on the Eco-Beam.

The video is low quality, but very informative.

The summary from their website is:
Advantages of the Ecobeam system

The Ecobeam System complies with all NHBRC requirements.
Construction can take place at locations to which road access is not provided. This reduces the damage and congestion caused by heavy trucks which carry bricks and cement.
No electricity is required at the construction site and only minimal amounts of water and cement are required.
1500 bags fit into the boot of a small car and weigh only a few kilograms. This is the equivalent of 3000 bricks over the same area in a cavity wall.
The construction technique can easily be learnt in a few days by people without experience in the building trade. A regular "builder" would pick it up immediately.
The Ecobeams are light in weight and can be easily handled by one person in all phases of the construction.
The only "wet" trade required is the plasterer. The plaster adheres easily to the sandbags and chicken wire that covers the walls. The Ecobags are made wet before the plastering process.
The wet bags behind the plaster enable the plasterwork to "cure" instead of merely drying, as it does in standard construction. The end result is a very hard and reinforced cement finish.
No bricks lie around the site before, during or after completion, thus eliminating "site-clearing", which is a major cost factor on any building site. Unused bags can be removed from the site overnight thereby reducing the incidence of theft.

The “Ecobeam System” exhibits tremendous thermal stability. The occupants will be kept cool in summer and warm in winter. The system also has excellent sound absorbing properties which help to provide a measure of privacy in close quarter living.
The “Ecobeam System” is much heavier than brick construction and is therefore wind resistant.
The “Ecobeam System” resists water penetration due to the fact that the sand in the bags is a filter medium – any water penetrating the plaster will simply “filter” down to the damp-course and exit the wall to the outside.
The “Ecobeam System” is fire resistant.
Construction rate of the “Ecobeam System” is rapid.
All members of the community can be involved, thereby creating a sense of ownership, belonging and contribution in the participants.
The walls of the “Ecobeam System” are bullet-proof.

For the potential, wealthier client here are further inducements.
  • Eco-friendly
  • Green House (Carbon footprint much less than conventional construction)
  • Up to 70% superior thermal properties
  • 3 Times greater mass than conventional building
  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • Superior acoustic qualities
  • Versatility of the building process allows for multiple
  • All services can be accommodated in the walls
  • Minimal building waste or losses on site
  • Creates job opportunities
  • Low skill levels required in the initial construction phase
  • Ease of transport
  • Ease of construction
  • Low transportation costs
  • Ecobeams can be manufactured anywhere
  • Between 30 to 40% lower building costs than conventional building
  • Patented technology

Friday, June 25, 2010

new blog background

This is a fun picture in the background on the blog. Blogger came out with some new easy switch templates. I'm trying this one.

Binishell - concrete dome homes

IM Design has been bringing great housing alternatives to its blog lately. Like this thing.
These pictures are pretty old, but there are new ones at the new website, .

There is similar technology in use in the US used by Monolithic Dome. Monolithic seems to take more work. Bini lays the re-bar in circles on top of the air bladder, but springs run cross wise through that steel. The concrete is poured on the flat bladder and re-bar and springs and then the bladder is inflated before the concrete sets. All the technical details are explained on the older version of the website. Insulation still needs to be added on the dome and a finish coat after that.

Monolithic blows up the bladder first, then sets up re-bar inside then insulation is sprayed on then concrete. No matter what, I like domes and round homes.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Circular Passive House Villa in Sweden

I love round houses. Preston at Jetson Green found this round incarnation of a Passive House. It even has a little courtyard.

Circular Passive House Villa in Sweden: "


Preston writes "Kjellgren Kaminsky Architecture recently let us know of a newly completed Passive House in Borlänge, Sweden. It's beautiful, prefabricated, contemporary, and, stating the obvious, circular. The 1,700 square-foot home features an interior atrium, lake-facing kitchen and living room, and more private bedrooms and bathrooms on the other side of the home."


Learn more about Passive House Villa Nyberg in Sweden.

Media credits: Kjellgren Kaminsky Architecture.

Back to the umblogger:

I like the clock philosophy the architects use.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Alternate Energy: Passive Solar Homes

Alternate Energy: Passive Solar Homes uses air tubes through a foot thick pad of concrete and 3 inches of rigid insulation in addition to the sun to keep their houses at a comfortable temperature and humidity year round. They push the air from the peak of the house down into the massive thermal mass in the basement which stays about the same temperature year round. This is from their FAQ page.

  • We design, engineer and market a unique concept incorporating
    proper solar orientation, a superior 6-sided insulation envelope and a large air integrated thermal mass system.
  • Our unique homes can be built in whatever size, shape and style you desire, i.e., contemporary, saltbox, traditional, etc.
  • Insulated and sealed on all six sides with 4" of polyisocyanurate (foam board) yielding a performance level of R38, 7 to 9 times higher than typical new homes.
  • Customer SatisfactionAn integral air handling system powered by a small fan gathers air at the peak of the house and pulls it down an airshaft to be delivered, through a grid work of pipes, buried in a heavy (70-100 ton) mass storage system under the lowest floor, and back to the house interior perimeter.
  • Air Quality: Healthy high winter humidity levels of 45-50 % are maintained at all times. Filtration 3 times per hour of all indoor air eliminates most dusting. Steady temperatures changing only 4 - 6 F. in 24 hours because of mass tempering.
  • Self-regulating system allows owners to leave for any winter months by simply turning the key, the house will never freeze. Excellent for a second home or ski lodge. Retired people enjoy the constant warmth, maintenance free operation and minimal fuel bills.
  • AAE has built over 300 Low Energy Requirement homes across
    30 years in 15 eastern states.
It sounds pretty simple.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Jesus, drinking and Mormons

It is my contention that Mormonism is not consistent with itself, with the Bible, or with the gospel it claims to restore. An easy shot is the prohibition of alcohol. Jesus drank wine and was accused of being a drunk (Luke 7:34). Joseph Smith died in a lynching on a night he was drinking and smoking. So the word of wisdom is inconsistent with Smith's own lifestyle, Jesus's lifestyle, and the gospel of freedom.

Colossians 2:20-23

20Since you died with Christ to the basic principles of this world, why, as though you still belonged to it, do you submit to its rules:21“Do not handle! Do not taste! Do not touch!”? 22These are all destined to perish with use, because they are based on human commands and teachings. 23Such regulations indeed have an appearance of wisdom, with their self-imposed worship, their false humility and their harsh treatment of the body, but they lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.