Why build with earth?

Smaller Carbon Footprint

Earthen materials are locally available and require less energy to process, transport, maintain, and recycle or repurpose at the end of a building’s lifespan than traditional construction. As a result, earthen buildings have a significantly smaller carbon footprint with lower emissions of greenhouse gases contributing to global warming than conventional structures.

More Energy Efficient

Earthen structures require less air conditioning and less operational energy than most conventional buildings. This is due to the high thermal mass that can store heat and modulate daily external temperature changes in the interior.

Healthy & Comfortable

The clay in earthen walls interacts with water vapor to modulate the humidity in interior spaces, maintaining a comfortable humidity level of 40 to 60%. The mass walls result in a quieter interior space – with lower sound transmission levels, both from external sources and internally between rooms than most conventional construction. Earthen buildings are also nontoxic, non-allergenic, and provide a healthier indoor environment than ordinary buildings.

Aesthetically Appealing

Earthen interiors are inviting, touchable, and calming. Whether rough, smooth, or textured finish, earthen walls provide a unique ambiance, a strong human connection.

Resilient & Long-Lasting

Earthen buildings are fire proof, pest resistant, mold resistant, and tornado resistant. Earthen buildings can be designed, built, and maintained to last several hundred years. Like concrete, masonry, and other modern materials, earthen buildings are structurally sound. However, earthen construction also has additional unique advantages: a substantially smaller carbon footprint; improved energy efficiency; a comfortable, healthy indoor environment; and attractive aesthetics.

 

Important Considerations for Earthen Building

Plan For Moisture

Earthen structures are sensitive to moisture. Earthen elements must be protected before an during construction, and over the lifespan of the building. Building design should consider effects of driving rain, backsplash, flooding, and more. There are proven strategies for addressing these issues in all earthen building types.

Design For The Material

Building plans and designs should be adapted to earthen construction. The design process should consider the material properties of earth, including wall height limits and sufficient spacing between windows/doors.

Construction May Take Longer

Earthen construction methods usually take longer than traditional construction methods because earthen building is labor-intensive, requires on-the-job training, and, being very weather dependent, can sometimes take longer to complete than conventional construction.

Work With Experienced Professionals

Being familiar with — and understanding the properties of — earthen materials can prevent many building mistakes. A successful earthen project must provide workers with continual supervision and quality control by an experienced builder/project manager throughout the soil processing and construction phases.

More Questions?
Don't forget to explore the Frequently Asked Questions and Glossary.
FAQ