Build Simple Inc.
earthbag and beyond

Natural buildings adapted to specific  hazard levels

Inside tips for builders

Is there earthquake risk in your area?

Learn simple techniques for stronger earthbag walls for your level of quake hazard.

Info for builders

The basics for planners, dreamers, innovators...

Which natural walls are right for an area? Plan for safe buildings. Get help with cultures and sites. 

Learn more

The inside story

Are earthbag's naturally flexible walls right for you?

Evaluate soil and risk to compare earthbag to other materials.

Since four dozen buildings survived Nepal's 2015 quakes near severely damaged villages, structural testing of earthbag's barbed-wire reinforced walls shows high ductility (flexing under forces instead of breaking).

It's all in the bag

(what's in the bag matters)
The bag is just a form. Earthbag was first built using adobe-type subsoil. For hazardous areas 'resilient CE' requires strong, damp soil fill to bond with reinforcement.

Cohesive damp soil fill

Superadobe, Hiperadobe, Earthbag, Resilient Contained Earth (CE) 

Made with 15" (380 mm) thick walls of hardened soil fill. Superadobe domes use long fabric tubes, and Hiperadobe in mesh tubes is monolithic.

Resilient CE uses special reinforcement chosen for risk levels with tested soil.

Building resilient CE 

Gravel fill for water-resistance

Gravel bag, Contained Gravel (CG)

Gravel fill in separate bags makes self-draining footings and base courses. CG also stops moisture wicking up the walls above. It may also reduce quake vibrations.

Double bags in hazardous areas and wrap wire along walls to resist quakes. 

Improving CG footings 

Loose sand fill or dry soil fill

Sandbag, Contained Sand (CS) 

8" (200 mm) wide infill used in structural frames for an inexpensive wall that does not quickly overheat or cool.

Wider sandbags can form site walls 4' (1,2 m) high or less.

More info is online about ecobeam, narrow-wall earthbag, e-khaya, and sandbag houses.