There are a variety of natural building methods which can be used for your sustainable build project. Below you will find some information about some of these along with their key features and benefits.
- is a traditional building material (mixture of clay/sand/straw/water), with thousands of earth buildings still inhabited in the UK, some 4-500 years old.
- The most basic mixing method is mixing by foot (dancing in it on a tarpaulin!) – ie accessible to ALL in the community. Mechanical methods exist too!
- Walls are built up a layer (lift) at a time.
- is load-bearing or can be used as part of an infill system.
- is sustainable and uses locally sourced, natural materials. It is versatile and creative – it lends itself to curvilinear rather than straight walls…and you can sculpt with it!
- makes healthy buildings – it is vapour permeable which facilitates the regulation of moisture within a building.
- While not “traditional” (it really only dates from the invention of the baling machine in the 19th Century), bale construction works in a very similar manner to older techniques – the use of straw itself in construction is, of course, as old as the hills;
- The oldest bale buildings in the world are in Nebraska, and date from the late 1800s – they’re still going strong;
- The first bale buildings in Britain date from the 1990s – it has been the subject of much research and there are many examples out there, as it becomes more and more mainstream;
- Easy to master, intuitive and fun – like building with huge, light, soft bricks
- Buildings can be very fast to put up, as bales do not need to dry out between lifts;
- Can be either load-bearing or used as part of a frame infill;
- Is sustainable and uses local materials with extremely low embodied energy;
- Provides excellent thermal insulation as well as a healthy indoor environment – it works well with breathable lime and clay plasters, regulating humidity levels and providing vapour-permeable construction;
- Can be built in both rectilinear and curved forms.