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Building with earthbags (sometimes called sandbags) is both old and new. Sandbags have long been used, particularly by the military, for creating strong, protective barriers, or for flood control. The same reasons that make them useful for these applications carry over to creating housing. Since the walls are so substantial, they resist all kinds of severe weather (or even bullets) and also stand up to natural calamities such as earthquakes and floods. They can be erected simply and quickly with readily available components, for very little money.

Earthbag building fills a unique niche in the quest for sustainable architecture. The bags can be filled with local, natural materials, which lowers the embodied energy commonly associated with the manufacture and transportation of building materials. The fill material is generally of mineral composition and is not subject to decomposition (even when damp), attractive to vermin, or burnable...in other word it is extremely durable. The fill material is generally completely non-toxic and will not offgas noxious fumes into the building.

--- earthbagbuilding.com



  1. 2020-06-29 Download TN#96(PDF) Read TN#96 online Seed storage in the tropics has been a frequent topic of ECHO publications and trainings due to its importance to the smallholder farmer. Access to quality seeds is imperative for agronomic and horticultural crop production. While on-farm seed saving benefits...
  2. Key Resource Introduction Given the proper facilities necessary to store seeds long-term, whereby low temperature and low humidity are kept stable over time, it is very possible to store most orthodox seeds for several years at a time in the tropics (Harrington, 1972). Unfortunately, implementation and...
  3. In addition to lateral support, buttresses (as well as curves) follow criteria for determining their height to width ratio. For every foot (30 cm) of wall height, add six inches (15 cm) of width to the wall, either as total thickness, or as a curve or buttress. In other words, theheight to width...
  4. Key Resource 2020-06-29 Seed storage in the tropics has been a frequent topic of ECHO publications and trainings due to its importance to the smallholder farmer. Access to quality seeds is imperative for agronomic and horticultural crop production. While on-farm seed saving benefits the smallholder farmer, cooperative...
  5. This photo slideshow is a supplement toTechnical Note96: Earthbag Seed Banks.
  6. 2019-07-24 Patrick Trail, an ECHO Asia staff member, compiled a picture-based guide for constructing earthbag houses for seed storage in Asia. Earthbag houses have been used by multiple seed banks in Asia as an alternative to more costly conventional structures. At this writing, construction of an earthbag...
  7. Abstract,Earth and Environmental Science, 2018 The inspiration and concept for the Superadobe system originates not from the modern architecture design experience, but from the influence of traditional rural buildings and landscape, together with a 13th century Persian poet named Jala Ad-Din...
  8. Key Resource This document presents key steps the ECHO Asia staffused to build an Earth Bag Seed Storage House on the new ECHO Asia Small Farm Resource Center in Thailand.
  9. 1998-03-01 Cob (an old English word for lump) is old-fashioned concrete, made out of a mixture of clay, sand, and straw. Becky Bee's manual is a friendly guide to making your own earth structure, with chapters on design, foundations, floors, windows and doors, finishes, and of course, making glorious cob....
  10. Abstract, Journal of Science, Engineering, and Technology, 2013 This report will highlight the benefits both in terms of CO2 reduction and cost saving construction. This project will develop rigorous assessment methods and will broaden applications. It is expected that the project will have an...
  11. ECHO Asia, in collaboration with Ntuk Nti small farm resource center and International Cooperation Cambodia (ICC), has just finished a 1-year research project (funded by the Presbyterian Hunger Program- USA) to identify key indigenous vegetable crop species in NE Cambodia and strengthen the seed...
  12. Building with earthbags (sometimes called sandbags) is both old and new. Sandbags have long been used, particularly by the military, for creating strong, protective barriers, or for flood control. The same reasons that make them useful for these applications carry over to creating housing. Since...
  13. Roundhouses are perhaps the simplest, fastest, easiest earthbag structure to build. We’re extremely pleased with the results, especially in terms of strength and cost. This is one of the strongest structures I’ve ever worked on in my 30-plus year construction career. The main impression is one of...
  14. For those who don’t know, earthbag building uses polypropylene rice bags or feed bags filled with soil or insulation that are stacked like masonry and tamped flat. Barbed wire between courses keeps bags from slipping and adds tensile strength. The final plastered walls look just like adobe...
  15. 2004-01-20 Building with earthbags is gutsy. Gutsy because only the brave take up a construction method so different from the conventional. Gutsy because people build homes with this technique when they’ve just learned it. Gutsy because the materials are basic, elemental, primal. And gutsy, indeed, because...
  16. Abstract, Nepal Engineers' Association Technical Journal, 2015 Earthbag technology is an inexpensive, simple and sustainable method for building structures. Having evolved from military bunker construction and flood control methods, Earthbag buildings are notable for their ability to endure fire,...

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