We are all well aware of the current climate crisis. We hear so much in the news about how the world is officially in a climate emergency.
Did you know that the construction industry is one of the biggest contributors to the negative effects of climate change?
In fact, the construction industry accounts for 40% of the world's carbon emissions.
In a post COVID world, so many of us are becoming a lot more aware of our environment and increasingly becoming Eco-conscious.
If the pandemic taught us anything is that our health, wellness, and environment are extremely important.
There definitely feels like there has been a shift in the world, a lot of us do not want to work crazy hours, we value time in nature, were moving out of cities, and becoming a lot more aware of how we treat the planet.
Among this, there has been a rise in people wanting to live off-grid, live closer to nature, and build their own homes.
Rammed earth is increasingly becoming a popular choice for home builds for its Eco-friendliness.
In this blog post, we delve into the advantages of rammed-earth homes, exploring their unique characteristics and the growing interest surrounding sustainable building practices.
Locally Sourced Materials
Rammed Earth is appealing to Eco enthusiasts because it allows for the use of locally sourced earth in and around the site. If you are lucky you may be able to find all the materials for the construction on the site.
However, if this isn’t possible in most places you can purchase suitable material from a local quarry.
Using locally sourced materials reduces the environmental impact normally associated with transportation and resource extraction.
By utilizing the earth beneath our feet, rammed earth homes reduce carbon emissions while simultaneously showcasing the inherent beauty of the earth homes.
Low Carbon Footprint
Rammed earth is both a material and construction method that has an incredibly low carbon footprint as compared to other conventional forms of construction. Locally sourcing materials means you get the materials in their natural form. The great thing about this is that it wouldn’t have gone through a process for it to be suitable to use.
Unlike fired brick or concrete that has to go through extreme heat for it to be of use, with rammed earth, you literally dig your earth and ram your walls.
The construction method heavily relies on the use of manual labor instead of it going through an expensive carbon-releasing process.
Naturally Regulates Room Temperature
The dense earth walls possess the ability to store heat during the day and release it gradually at night, regulating indoor temperatures naturally. This thermal mass reduces the need for artificial heating and cooling systems, resulting in decreased energy consumption and lower utility costs. The comfortable indoor environment created by rammed earth construction exemplifies the harmony between sustainability and comfort.
Works Well With Eco-energy Sources
If you want your home to be super Eco-friendly, like literally everything from the earth, having Eco-energy sources is a match made in Eco heaven. With its sturdy construction and design flexibility, rammed earth homes can accommodate solar panels, wind turbines, or other renewable energy technologies. By harnessing clean energy sources, rammed earth homes can further reduce their reliance on traditional energy grids, promote self-sufficiency, and contribute to a greener and more sustainable future.
Rammed earth walls are extremely strong in fact, un-stabilized rammed earth walls can get a MPA of 2.4. The compacted layers create a solid and robust structure that gets stronger over time with weathering.
The compression process during construction results in walls that have a high load-bearing capacity, making rammed earth homes structurally sound and resilient against external forces.
Fire & Pest Resistant
Rammed earth construction offers inherent resistance to fire, pests, and decay.
The density and composition of the earth walls provide natural fire resistance, making rammed earth homes less susceptible to spreading flames.
Rammed earth homes have a long lifespan and require minimal maintenance. Well-constructed walls can last for centuries, so it's important to employ an experienced rammed earth builder. The solid composition of rammed earth walls minimizes the need for frequent repairs or replacements. Unlike conventional building materials that may deteriorate over time, rammed earth homes offer longevity and low maintenance requirements, providing long-term economic and environmental benefits to homeowners.
Breathable Walls Help To Create a Comfortable Home
Because rammed earth walls are made of organic material they are able to breathe, this allows for effective moisture regulation.
The porous nature of the earth's materials enables the walls to absorb and release moisture vapor, preventing moisture buildup and condensation issues within the structure. This natural breathability helps maintain a healthy and balanced indoor environment by mitigating the risks of mold growth and promoting excellent air quality. These are great for environments with high humidity.
Natural and Non-toxic Materials
Another advantage of rammed earth homes is the reduction of indoor air pollutants and allergens. Unlike traditional construction materials that may emit toxic compounds, rammed earth walls do not release such pollutants.
This contributes to a healthier living environment, particularly for people with allergies or respiratory issues. The natural, non-toxic composition of rammed earth creates a clean and allergen-friendly space, promoting well-being and enhancing overall indoor air quality.
Aesthetics and Design Flexibility
Contrary to what people believe, rammed earth constriction can be very versatile when it comes to design.
Rammed earth walls are renowned for their natural and earthy aesthetics. The laborious process itself is shown through the materials used.
The colors and textures of rammed earth walls can vary depending on the mix and if there are any additives used.
Opportunity To Be Very Artistic With Walls
Rammed earth walls offer an excellent opportunity to incorporate artistic elements and textures into architectural designs. The texture of rammed earth walls can be customized by altering the soil mixture, combining pigments, adding different aggregates, or using special formwork techniques.
Additionally, artistic elements such as embedded stones, shells, or decorative materials can be included in the rammed earth mixture to enhance the natural aesthetic of the wall.
One of the notable advantages of rammed earth walls is their design flexibility, which allows for the integration of various architectural styles. Whether you're aiming for a contemporary, rustic, or traditional look, rammed earth walls can be adapted to suit different design aesthetics.
Rammed earth walls can be shaped into curves or straight lines, enabling the creation of unique architectural structures.
They can be used for both exterior and interior walls, providing thermal mass and insulation benefits. The natural beauty of rammed earth also complements other materials such as wood, glass, and steel, allowing for striking combinations and architectural contrasts.
Rammed earth construction can offer potential cost savings in terms of materials and construction. The material used in rammed earth walls is the soil itself, which is abundant and readily available. This can significantly reduce the cost of sourcing and transporting traditional building materials such as bricks, blocks, or concrete.
Furthermore, the construction process for rammed earth walls does not require highly specialized equipment, you can purchase everything you need from your local DIY store.
But do be aware, that labor is a huge cost for rammed earth construction due to its labor-intensive process.
However, if your using volunteers or interns then there is definitely a huge cost saving there.
Long-Term Cost Savings
In addition to initial cost savings, rammed earth walls offer long-term financial benefits, particularly in terms of reduced energy bills. Because of its thermal mass properties, there isn't a reliance on the use of cooling and heating systems, therefore you can reduce your energy bills.
Resilience to Climate Change
Rammed earth structures have demonstrated a remarkable ability to withstand extreme weather conditions. In fact, ancient civilizations used rammed earth walls for defense and protection. The thick and solid nature of rammed earth walls provides excellent durability and resilience. They are capable of withstanding high winds, earthquakes, and even fire, making them suitable for areas prone to natural disasters.
The density and strength of rammed earth walls contribute to their structural integrity. They have high compressive strength and can resist the pressures exerted by extreme weather events.
Fantastic For A passive Eco Home
Rammed earth construction lends itself well to incorporating passive design strategies. The passive design focuses on utilizing natural elements and design principles to maximize energy efficiency and occupant comfort. Rammed earth walls, with their thermal mass properties, play a key role in passive design strategies.
For example, by strategically placing windows and openings to allow for cross ventilation, natural airflow can be harnessed to cool the interior during hot weather. Shading elements such as roof overhangs or external screens can be used to protect the walls from direct sunlight and reduce heat gain. The thermal mass of rammed earth walls then absorbs excess heat and releases it slowly, preventing overheating.
Would you consider rammed earth construction for your future projects? Using this sustainable and versatile building method can bring numerous benefits to your project. From the natural beauty and durability of rammed earth walls to the potential for cost savings and design flexibility, rammed earth offers a compelling option for creating unique and environmentally conscious homes.
By choosing rammed earth for your next project, we make positive contributions to reducing our carbon footprint.