Earth, Water & Air … a blog series about sustainable, energy efficient and eco-friendly architecture.
Sustainability. It’s the word on everyone’s lips, its discourse permeates art, politics, food, fashion, building, and of course architecture, and it generally boils down to these sentiments: conscious consumption, an awareness of the materials we use, and their environmental impacts.
In terms of architecture, these fundamentals remain, but the language, well it can perplex the best of us.
This blog series is dedicated to explaining – in simple terms – how thoughtfully designed homes offer innovative-problem solving for better housing outcomes in urban and rural areas, with a focus on the benefits for you.
We’ll look at the many facets of sustainable and eco-friendly architecture and building, exploring topics like: passive design for comfort, longevity and savings to your living costs and energy efficient and sustainable materials, to name a few.
This inaugural blog is about rammed earth walls, because aside from being decisively photogenic they offer a slew of benefits for dwellers and they’re environmentally friendly.
Rammed earth walls are a mixture of earth, sand, gravel, clay and a stabilizer such as cement, compressed in a mould to form a solid, high-thermal-mass structural wall.
This combination of materials along with the way it’s made creates a highly durable structure – it’s robust, so much so you could say it stands the test of time. It’s why historical (architecturally sound and magnificent) constructions like The Great Wall of China and Alhambra in Granada still exist today.
We mentioned thermal mass earlier, which works to absorb heat during the day and releases it at night, working to even out temperature (by day and night). Moreover, it’s density reduces noise.
In terms of design and aesthetics, the method of formwork mould construction allows endless possibility for shape, form and appearance. The construction type lends well to curved and irregular shaped walls. And once it’s done it’s done. There’s no need to finish with plaster, paint, or tiles so it requires little to no maintenance.
Rammed earth is non-combustible, breathable (regulating humidity) and ideal for fire risk areas because stabilised rammed earth doesn’t burn. That’s right – earth does not burn.
To start, the materials used to create rammed earth walls are non-toxic, locally sourced, locally produced; they’re the least environmentally detrimental construction material available today for solid masonry.
Rammed earth walls carry a low embodied energy (the impact a building has on the environment from the processes associated with the production of a building, from the mining and processing of natural resources to manufacturing, transport and product delivery).
And finally, its thermal mass contributes to passive solar energy efficiencies – the density of the material results in a slow penetration of hot or cold temperatures, where many occupiers of rammed earth wall dwellings have little need to use cooling or heating systems, reducing energy emissions (and saving costs)
Ours is a sustainability-led design philosophy – it’s important for us to know the role we play in delivering better housing outcomes to positively impact the environment and address sustainability issues, all while creating a home you’ll love. As you can see, there’s so much yes when it comes to exploring rammed earth walls for your home … and the reality is that it’s an option available for all new builds, renovations and extensions. Talk to us about how you can make this dream material a reality for you.