Can compressed earth blocks be a viable building material for affordable housing?
"The 2005 UN Habitat report, Global Report on Human Settlements, estimated that over the next 25 years more than 2 billion people will be added to the global demand for housing.This, the report concludes, translates into completing 96,150 housing units per day. With much of this demand coming from countries where poverty remains an acute problem, the funding of this demand for housing presents challenges, particularly in relation to the costs of building materials. This research project, by a team led by Joseph Arumala at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, USA, explored the possibility of using soils for making compressed earth blocks for constructing affordable residential buildings, using relatively cheap and locally available technology. What he found was blocks made using this approach satisfied code requirements for compressed earth block one-storey housing construction. What his work also showed was that using small amounts of additives, such as agricultural fibre – readily available in many developing countries – could also make a significant and positive impact to the performance of the blocks."
Arumala J. O., Gondal T. (2008) Can compresses earth blocks be a viable building material for affordable housing? in Fibre Series: findings in built and rural environments. RICS
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