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earthbag and beyond

Natural buildings adapted to specific  hazard levels

Inside tips for builders

Check earthquake risk in your area.

Learn simple techniques to create stronger earthbag walls that can be trusted in hazardous areas.

Info for builders

Technical resources for engineers, architects

How strong can earthen walls be?

Find material comparisons, structural research and construction detailing.

Structural info about earthen walls

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 has intensified. Testing to date shows that earthbag can have 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 the cohesiveness and strength of strong, damp soil fill that can bond with reinforcement. Not all earthbag is equal.

Cohesive damp soil fill

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

95% of structural earthbag building walls have 15" (380 mm) wide masses of hardened, dry soil fill. Superadobe uses cohesive soil in long fabric tubes for domes, and Hiperadobe in mesh tubes for monolithic walls.

Resilient CE puts tested soil in fabric tubes with special reinforcement. Choose the right level of reinforcement strength for your risk and build carefully.

How to build Resilient CE 

Gravel fill for water-resistance

Gravel bag, Contained Gravel (CG)

Gravel fill in separate bags makes self-draining footings and base courses not damaged by soaking. CG also stops moisture wicking up to earthen walls above. Although encased in cement stucco, it may reduce quake vibration travel into upper walls.

In hazardous areas bags should be doubled. Because gravel fill does not bond with reinforcement, special details are used with resilient CE. 

How to improve CG footings 

Loose sand fill or dry soil fill

Sandbag, Contained Sand (CS) 

8" (200 mm) wide infill used only in other structural frames. Covered with stucco it makes an inexpensive wall that does not quickly overheat or cool.

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

Other sites have information about:

ecobeam, narrow-wall earthbag, e-khaya, and sandbag houses.