Primary Advantages Of Rammed Earth Design

RACV Dec 2011 Nth Light 2Green living is in, and one of the best places to uphold this ecologically conscious lifestyle is the home. There are so many strategies available nowadays to make sure that your home life allows you to save energy and reduce carbon emissions to help the environment. Architects are going back to the foundational principles of their industry and exploring the benefits of simple design.

When it comes to environmentally responsible homes, the rammed earth design is frequently mentioned.  It is basically “a technique of building walls using raw materials of earth, chalk, lime and gravel.” A lot of eco-conscious folks are opting for this design because it’s quite simple to construct, thermally massive, non-combustible (or fire-resistant), and long-lasting, especially if built by experts.

The primary advantages of a rammed earth design lies greatly in the thickness and composition of the walls. Typically, rammed earth walls are anywhere between 18 to 24 inches thick which is not only responsible for the impressive stability of the structure but also for the ideal climate inside the building. The thick walls have tremendous thermal mass that keeps the building comfortably warm in the cold season and cool during hot summers; the composition makes it a greatly compatible material for passive solar heating. Because of this, a rammed earth building uses less energy than most of today’s buildings; experts claim that a rammed earth home only uses about one-third of the energy for heating and cooling that a conventional home does.

This construction design also offers the advantage of being rodent-resistant as it usually does not make use of building materials that rodents and insects, like termites, can eat, making maintenance not that big of a problem. In fact, expert builders claim that once a rammed earth structure is built and sealed, the only maintenance required would be the application of a second coat of sealer which can be done 10 to 20 years later.

DSC_8514Rammed earth buildings are also stylishly versatile. In their organic, earth-coloured state, they hold an old world charm. With different shades of brown as a base, there are many ways of accentuating the building with vibrant hues. Likewise, there can be variations in texture and finishes to explore to create a more dynamic look; beautiful stones and tiles can be integrated into the design.

Last, but definitely not the least, a rammed earth design prevents outdoor noises from getting into the buildingbecause the internal walls are greatly effective for sound insulation. CSIRO tests reveal a sound transmission rating of over 50 decibels (sound level considered much quieter than a normal conversation) for a rammed earth wall with a thickness of about nineinches. So, for those people who want a home that shuts out external noise, the rammed earth design will surely meet this requirement.

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