How can the land accommodate a structure? Trees, contours, wind direction, seasonal sun angles, winter patterns, water flow, and access all heavily influence the use of the site. A good design that incorporates these elements will reflect as ease and pleasure in daily use and through climate patterns.
The world of stabilized earth and earthen building is as old as the need for dwellings. We are in the process of securing funding to set up a methodology and framework to characterize and enhance local materials (like on site clay, recycled cellulose, agricultural waste, and more) to achieve structural extrusions with sophisticated thermal properties. As with all projects, we consider protection and regeneration of the environment a major factor, as we develop accessible options for food and living security.
Thinking about energy efficiency ranges from high efficiency appliances to off-grid comfort through intelligent design. The future looks bright - the sun will play a greater role in our design process. Passive solar design principles can reduce heating and cooling costs. Orientation of the building, window placement, overhang size, and the type of wall assembly figure heavily into the energy use of the structure.
Walls protect us and keep us safe. Our recent history of construction has focused on materials that are highly processed. Luckily, that is beginning to change, and a new language is defining the new materials coming to construction. Fibre-integrated materials, alternative materials, and walls that contribute to healthy indoor air and comfort.
A changing climate means we need to consider more frequent extremes - more wildfires and smoke, more hail events, and damaging winds. How can our designs integrate the materials and details to be more resilient through these events?
Healthy indoor air is balanced for seasonal humidity - maintaining humidity in the optimal levels to reduce viral, fungal, and bacterial transmission and growth. Fresh air plays a major part, with natural and strategic ventilation details. Vapour-open wall assemblies of hempcrete can reduce viral/fungal/bacterial loads in indoor air, while simultaneously reducing ambient humidity. The result is a room that feels more comfortable at lower temperatures.
The dependence on supply chains and large industry for building materials is a lost opportunity to explore what we have at hand. The construction industry has stagnated, achingly slow to change and consider new sophisticated materials.
The question becomes one of what can we do with what we have, that is accessible, local, and safe? Additionally, how can we retrofit what we have and address the changing needs of housing through a changing climate?
We believe the answer lies under our feet. Our rich collective history is one of stabilized earth and integrated fibre building, applied with sophisticated techniques and design. Once we needed a community of hands to help build these structures, but now we can enable earthen building through smart machines, no different than having a tractor or truck, that still allow for integration of beauty and handwork.
Our future is on and with the earth.
We can help with the full spectrum of design, and provide the experience and details needed for your local building officials to become comfortable with new materials and design details.
We can also provide expertise in hempcrete buildings, from how to mix, and to cast, what to expect in drying, how to manage samples and testing, and what to watch for through the first dry and cure.
The world of construction 3D printing is almost here. We can help characterize your on-site earthen materials and print test samples to achieve a good construction mix.
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