Green Home Building and Sustainable Architecture

Sustainable architecture is an exciting and important field, with many people reviving traditional methods of building and others creating innovations to established practices. Kelly Hart, webmaster of the popular website, posts text and photos featuring what he discovers from around the world.

My Photo
Location: Crestone, Colorado, United States

Kelly Hart has been involved with green building concepts for much of his life. He has also worked in various fields of communication media, including still photography, cinematography, animation, video production and now website development. Kelly has lived in an earthbag/papercrete home that he built and consults about sustainable building design.

July 01, 2011

Earthbag Building Guide

Owen Geiger and I started several years ago and share the popular associated blog. During this time we have examined most earthbag projects that have been publicized in any way and have shared and learned about successes and failures. Owen's new e-book combines this knowledge with lots of hands-on practical experience to provide a concise, well organized step-by-step guide.

This builder’s guide provides simple, clear explanations of each step of construction, from earthbag foundations that don’t require concrete, to complete information on tools and supplies, as well as tips, tricks and advanced earthbag techniques.

All major aspects of building earthbag houses with vertical walls are covered: Planning; Dirt cheap building techniques; Building code issues; Electrical and Plumbing; Cost estimating; Insulation; Landscaping options. It is profusely illustrated with about 185 color photos and detail drawings. This is now available as a PDF download for $20.

To read the Complete Table of Contents and several reviews see


Anonymous Nikola Tesla said...

Interesting. A completely new approach to home building, and it looks like something that would belong to a village on a peaceful planet in Star Trek. I like it! This has got to be more economical and doable for countries that are leaning on the 3rd part spectrum too!

8:49 AM  
Anonymous Solar Security Solutions said...

The building on the cover looks stunning, not sure if it would get past UK planning permission though (!) but your product certainly would help (as you quite rightly point out in earlier posts) in emergency/disaster areas... out of curiosity how long does it take to build the average Earthbag home?

2:08 PM  
Blogger Kelly Hart said...

It really depends on the complexity of the building project and the experience of the builders how long it might to build. I have seen simple structures completed within a matter of a month or two, but it took me nearly 3 years to finish a rather complex project, working mainly by myself.

5:13 PM  
Blogger Anita said...

I want to build. I am leaning toward earthbag,dome. I want to ask you, is hemp a good material maybe as a mixture to soil? I want to build in Minnesota, and thought that hemp would be an excellent insulator that I could combine and then fill my earthbags with.

Could I plaster with a pumice cement for an exterior? Sounds like that would be good for snow, and rainy climates.

3:42 PM  
Blogger Anita said...

Dear Kelly,

I am Anita Hollman, and I live in Minnesota. I want to build a DIY earthbag with two attached domes. I want to use the plastic bagging that
you have described in much of your
writings. They do not require bobbed
wire. I main dome to be 20' by 30' and the the attached one to be 15' and both with loft.

We want to use sand fill. Can I mix sand and hemp and then fill? Have would this be a good insulator?

3:50 PM  
Blogger Kelly Hart said...

I have never heard of hemp being used to fill earthbags, but that doesn't mean that it couldn't be done. I wouldn't expect hemp mixed with soil to provide very good insulation, however. This would take some experimentation to find out what works well.

I think that some form of pumice-cement would make a good plaster that would also provide some degree of insulation.

6:34 PM  
Blogger Kelly Hart said...

Hi Anita,

It is a good idea to use the barbed wire when building with earthbags because it helps hold it all together. I suggest that you look at the description of the domed house that I built, since it resembles what you have in mind. You can see this at

Read my other comment about using hemp for insulation. Sand is generally not a good fill material because it is a shape shifter and requires clay, cement, or lime to stabilize it.

I suggest that you go to if you have any more questions.

9:34 PM  
Anonymous Gregg Singer Developer said...

Good stuff and interesting too! Buildings which are based on go-green concept more beneficial for human being in such manner:
• Efficiently using energy, water and other resources
• Protecting occupant health, reduce waste and pollution

4:42 AM  
Blogger HazelJosephine said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:13 AM  
Blogger Perosso said...

Hi guys,

I think I have a solution presented in Business Fights Poverty. My shelters are industrial made, easy to errect and last almost for ever.
My initiative is named Oil for Shelter.
Have a look and best wishes.
Peter Rossi

8:11 PM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home