suggested readings

The feasibility of earth block masonry for building sustainable walling in the United Kingdom
Journal of Building Appraisal (2010) 6, 99–108

Colin Williams, Steve Goodhew, Richard Griffiths and Linda Watson
This article examines the possible use of earth block construction in the United Kingdom. The current and historical trends and distribution patterns of earth building in the United Kingdom and selected overseas countries are reviewed. The rationale for earth building is established, and the unique elements of earth block construction are identified. Economic and technical aspects of building with earth blocks are examined, and the cost of this process is highlighted as one of the major factors that is preventing the wider use of the technique. Methods of reducing the cost of building with earth blocks are examined, and the use of thin bed mortars is advocated as a possible way of reducing the labour cost of building, thereby making earth block building more economically viable. The article examines the structural questions raised by substituting traditional thick joint mortars with earth slurry mortars, and the thermal aspects of earth block walling are discussed. The article supports earth block walling as a sustainable alternative to more traditional walling construction.

earth; earth block; earth slurry; sustainable; construction

Regeneration of vernacular architecture: new rammed earth houses on the upper reaches of the Yangtze River
Front. Energy Power Eng. China 2010, 4(1): 93–99
Jiaping LIU, Rongrong HU, Runshan WANG, Liu YANG

In rural areas of western China, most of the vernacular architectures are made of earth. In the process of urbanization, few residents like to build their houses with earth because the old traditional earth house cannot meet their requirement for higher standard of living. As a result, much more energy will be consumed if industrial building materials are used instead of earth. The regeneration of the traditional earth house, therefore, becomes a challenge in new village construction. This paper briefly describes a project about creating a new prototype of earth house for the migrants along the upper reaches of the Yangtze River to shed light on finding an appropriate approach for regenerating the traditional earth houses with the concept of low-energy housing. It includes an investigation of the traditional earth house and the environment condition of the new settlement, the new house design process, and the quantitative evaluation of the living quality of the new house. 

Keywords: earth house, low-energy housing, upper reaches of the Yangtze River, passive solar technique.

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