Saturday, September 02, 2006

Cool rammed earth motel in Denmark

Here's one from flickr. Rammed earth in Denmark!

In the News

The word "news" brings with it the expectation of "new" information. When we ask "what's the news" really what we're asking is "what is new."

In that instance, it's always disappointing when the news isn't new.

Take this article for instance:
Green homes go mainstream as costs climb. Wow, big surprize. You mean this oil stuff won't last for ever, and less there is the more it will cost? Crazy!

The article talks at length about Negawatt--though in the article there is no connection made between rammed earth and Negawatt. Rammed earth comes in at the end of the article--amost as an afterthought:

"An organisation in the US called Earthship oversees the building of houses made of car tyres, filled with compacted earth to form a rammed earth brick encased in steel belted rubber"

And another thing--Negawatt (tm) should not be confused with negawatt, which appears to be a name for a much broader concept.

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Riffing on this ho-hum theme of the end of oil, the Wet Mountain Tribune ran this article. As it turns out:

"As foreign oil supplies become increasingly unreliable and as our domestic Trans-Alaska Pipeline goes off-line, we feel a bit anxious."

Anxious? Relax!

A group called
"Sustainable Ways led by Tyler and Kimberly Stein" is using rammed earth to allay the anxiety:

First, on the tour was an off-grid, rammed-earth home built by Dave and Ann O’Conner, in Centennial Ranch. With rammed earth construction, dirt plus five per cent concrete plus a very little water is rammed between forms.
According to Dave O’Conner, you can tamp the dirt into the form in the morning and take the forms off in the afternoon.
The forms are wide - wide enough for a person to stand inside the form when using the compactor. Sun, wind and battery power keep the O’Conner house humming."

(doesn't that sound complicated?)

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Not to be out done by anyone in Colorado, the good folks of Marfa, Texas with a little help from Liz Lambert are getting El Cosmico ready for consumption. But what is El Cosmico you ask?

"El Cosmico will be a Trans-Pecos kibbutz for the 21st century - part yurt and hammock hotel, part residential living, part art-house, greenhouse, amphitheatre and farmer's market - a community space that fosters artistic and intellectual exchange."

The article goes on to mention

"yurts, hammocks and rammed earth buildings to the property to create El Cosmico's unconventional hotel."

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Speaking of oil, what would you rather have--a world without petroleum or a world without olive oil? Mercifully, the more important of the two (olive oil)
is sustainable. This article tells the story of the good people at Long Meadow Ranch who keep the important oil flowing. (As an aside, they also apparently have some rammed earth on their property.)

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Once you've topped up the tank on olive oil, why not slide on down to The Dancing Rocks Permaculture Community. There you can learn a thing or two about not being a earth killing death loving energy pig. If you behave, perhaps you get to see or even stay in one of their 5 rammed earth houses: "
Some have connections to Marana's utilities grid, some don't. All use permaculture techniques."

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The big news, however, is to be found in Old Blighty. And by big we mean "rammed earth walls 7.2m high – the highest in the UK." Clearly to build walls that high you need to call in the
experts--the Australians.

In this article entitled "CAT Earth Building Gets Aussie Expertise" you can read all about the goings on at the Centre for Alternative Technology.

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