Would you recommend strawbale, rammed-earth, or CEB as a sustainable building method for a new home in East Texas?

Asked by Debi J
Fort Worth, TX

We're moving to East Texas and want to build a strawbale, rammed earth, or CEB home. We have 5 acres of "very sandy" soil to work with and plenty of time (mobile home on site). Which method is most cost-effective and energy efficient? We plan on an 864-sf footprint, 2-story house, with solar panels and passive solar design. Any recommendations as to method would be great!


David Lavender

Answered by David Lavender

Marine City, MI

David Lavender Architect PC

April 9, 2010

Strawbale works if coated with gunnite (sprayed concrete), but is always vermin-prone. Rammed earth is similar to natural adobe construction in the use of earth. Sandy soil would seem to be a good mix with the cement to give you the rigidity and weather resistance. Compressed earth block is hand-sized rammed earth with the benefits and drawbacks of traditional adobe construction.

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