Wednesday, April 2, 2008

FLYWHEEL Building Solutions - Alternative Building Practices - Rammed Earth

When thinking about an article on alternative building practices I instantly thought of Nicholas Hill and Grant Tweter of Solum Rammed Earth Homes. Rammed earth (RE), also known as pisé de terre or simply pisé, is a type of construction material. RE has been used for centuries to build dwellings and monuments in many parts of the world.

Many ancient buildings stand today as a testament to the durability of this natural and environmentally sustainable building material.It is an age-old building method that has seen a revival in recent years as people seek low-impact building materials and natural building methods.

Modern RE is much improved with technological advancements in the equipment used to test, mix, form and compact the material. Structural RE walls which are engineered to meet or exceed the regional climatic conditions and code requirements. Local soils that have been carefully tested for strength and appearance are mixed with a small amount (5-10%) of Portland cement and water. Layers are placed in special forms and mechanically compacted into stone-like walls. In colder climates a high R-value insulation is embedded within the core of the wall creating a warm, high-mass interior.

The result is a healthy, beautiful, natural looking structure that uses very little energy to heat or cool, will last an extremely long time, and will require much less maintenance than other buildings.Solum

Rammed Earth is a member of the Canadian Home Builders Association and provides full sub-contracting services for all applications of stabilized rammed earth (SRE) work throughout the Okanagan Valley. With over 5 years combined experience, Solum directors have experience spanning residential, commercial, civil, and landscape applications. Solum maintains a competitive advantage by owning all the necessary unique equipment to efficiently carry out SRE projects, including a custom earth blending machine. Nicholas calls it a green concrete process.Some of the many benefits to using Rammed Earth construction are:BUILD GREEN Reduce the embodied energy in building a home by using local material as the main structural component; you are doing your part to offset CO2 emissionsENERGY EFFICIENT Effective R24+ insulation value and high thermal mass maintains ambient temperature levels saving you money over timeAESTHETICS Stand out with a naturally unique home that blends into the Okanagan landscapeMARKETING Differentiate your business and attract clientele by using innovative-rammed earth walls that are unique in appearance and offer unparalleled design flexibilityDURABILITY & LOW MAINTENANCE Free your time and moneyGOOD INDOOR AIR QUALITY Breathe easier with little to no toxic off-gassingFIRE RESISTANT Sleep easy knowing your walls are completely fire resistantSOUND PROOFING Relax in comfort with reduced noise pollution