Our Earthbag Tiny House
I quickly fell in love with earthbag building after discovering it in 2007. The fact that you could build an extremely strong, extremely inexpensive house using materials from under your feet was very appealing to me. in 2019, after building two of our own larger earthbag houses, I decided to go small and build an earthbag tiny house. I was having a bit of a midlife crisis and wanted to downsize and simplify my life or to at least model that possibility for others.
We held an eight day tiny house workshop in September of 2019 and managed get the main structure done and the roof wood on. It took me a few more months of work to get the the inside plastered and white washed and the floor finished. I did an easy earthen floor in the house that has performed excellently. This and all of the techniques we used are featured in our upcoming online earthbag building course. I also wrote an article about the build for Mother Earth News that will be published in Oct/Nov this year.
Build With Natural Forces in Mind for an Energy Efficient Structure
The fact that the house is almost completely shaded and the amount of thermal mass in the walls and floor keep it quite comfortable inside during the summer months without any expenditure of energy. An emphasis of mine these days is to make sure that any structure I build is as energy and resource efficient as possible. We added a fridge and root cellar window to the house for this reason. The fridge window opens to the outside for cold storage in the winter months and the root cellar portion below that will keep cool year round using thermal mass. Large windows that allow a cross breeze from the prevailing winds are another zero power comfort feature. If we build intelligently, using natural forces to maximum effect, we can cut our power usage and expense to almost nothing.
One advantage of building small, especially for a first project, is that you are much more likely to actually get it done. I’ve seen folks take on enormous projects as their first and it can be a daunting challenge and a strain in almost every way imaginable. It’s easy to design and build earthbag houses in a modular way, making doorways for planned future expansions–this allows you to build and finish one manageable part before moving on to the next. It’s been my experience that if you move into an unfinished house, it’s likely to never get done.
Currently I use the house as an office. In the future we plan to AirBnB it to give folks the experience and hopefully inspiration of staying in an earthbag house.
Thanks for reading!