Earthbag House Construction Resources

Owen Geiger and Kelly Hart at the Earthbag Building Blog have been busy posting a lot of great detailed information about how to build earthbag structures over the last few months. I’ve been really enjoying their 3D drawings, descriptions, and learning the nitty gritty of how earthbag walls are really put together.

Earthbag construction is a type of earthen home construction that essentially involves filling bags (like sandbags) with dirt. The walls this method produces are comparable to adobe, cob, and rammed earth in thickness and thermal mass but earthbags seems to me to be a much faster way of building with dirt.

Here are some examples of the how-to posts you’ll find at the Earthbag Building Blog.

  • Structural Mesh
  • Estimating Costs
  • Alternative Bond Beams for Straight Walls
  • Alternative Bond Beam for Curved Structures
  • Filling Bags to Capacity
  • Using Scrap Metal for Bracing
  • Corrugated Metal for Bond Beams and Wall Bracing
  • Roofing Hold-downs
  • Alternative Bond Beams and Lintels for Straight, Vertical Walls
  • What Size Bag is Best?
  • Using Sand Versus Tamped Soil
  • Closing Ends of Earthbags

This is the kind of resource that really empowers people to invent their own housing solutiuons. Owen and Kelly, thanks for putting all this great information out there!

Image credit to Patti Stouter, Kelly Hart and Owen Geiger.

11 thoughts on “Earthbag House Construction Resources

  1. SteveR says:

    This is great information but please don’t be a dirtbag! Please don’t refer to earth as dirt. They are not the same thing.

    For too long we’ve referred to earth as dirt and treated it like dirt and sadly a lot of the earth is now dirt…but adobe, earth bag, cob are made from sand and clay mixtures, but you knew that!

  2. Dennis says:

    These are great concepts. But…

    Try working with any County with these types of plans with NO engineering calculations,etc. – good luck!

    Even plans provided by Kelly Hart do not include such provision set forth by ANY County. Upon trying to contract an engineer anyone will face refusal to deal with it or a bill for $4k.

    That IS the reality today…

    CalEarth, however, charges $3+K for their plans engineered by Nader Khalili.

    That IS exactly the cause why this type of construction is not spreading out across the US – greed or inability to provide full service at reasonable cost…

  3. SteveR says:

    Btw, New Zealand has a set of earth building standards which provide approved designs for council approval. However, as with any bespoke construction, you probably still want an engineer to review the complete construction. There are engineers qualified for this work in New Zealand but how this translates into anyplace else will vary and you would still want local expertise.

  4. Owen Geiger says:

    We like the New Zealand earth building standards and are using them to design structures in Haiti. Also note, the engineer mentioned above (PSE) provides designs for seismic areas.

    • grant says:


      we are in golden bay nz and wanting to do earthbag/earth construction, though need engineering. The above PSE link isnt working and you mentioned engineers that specialise in earth?? any information on example plans or contacts would be greatly appreciated


  5. Mr. Planet says:

    An engineer in canada is only required when applying for permits. Build in the country and learn you have the right to build whatever you want. Just be smart. Stick to slabs with high thermal mass and do no exceed one or one and a half stories. Be your own engineer.

  6. beinomugisha says:

    thank u sir. but i would like to ask the quenstion about how the procedures of plastering of the earth bag

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