Before he passed away last year, architect and founder of Cal-Earth, Nader Khalili, had created a futuristic housing movement. He had prototyped his dome-shaped adobes, or “moon-cocoons” on a commission from NASA for a lunar colony. Then he realized that they could take root here on earth…and that they have!
Most of us go to work to be able to pay off our mortgage on our house. At the same time, we are unaware of the damage to both our health and nature, caused by conventional construction methods.
The first thing to do if we want to create a sustainable building is to eliminate the use of any toxins. Eco-Domes are built using the earth itself as material. They use a special sandbag (local earth) and barbed-wire technology called SuperAdobe. No chemicals or toxins are used, just lime stabilized in the bags, and sometimes cement is added in wetter climates, but is certainly not necessary. The end result, is a very pretty and stable house that meets California’s strict earthquake requirements.
Built with the sun, wind and shade in mind for passive heating and cooling, you will want to consider the possiblity of installing a solar photovoltaic system and perhaps a small hydro installation, if you don’t have a stream nearby.
There is no greater respect you can show for yourself and for nature, than by building a sustainable building with your own two hands. While most of the Ec0- domes are 400 or 800 square feet, they can be joined together for a larger dwelling. They also have a 2,000 sq. ft. model that can be built for $3,000 worth of bags and barbed-wire! Cal-Earth is a non-profit organization that offers workshops teaching you how to build your house, out of SuperAdobe with a team of 3-5 people in a week!
With the main building material being earth, the simplicity of the SuperAdobe technique, allows for the possibility to quickly build emergency shelters, whenever and wherever they are need anywhere in the world. Most recently, a team from Cal-Earth has gone to Darfur, to help rebuild the damage and devastation to villages there.