Another Low Impact Earth Building
The Earth Building Association (EBAA) of Australia recently commissioned eTool to perform another LCA on one of their existing mud brick homes. EBAA demonstrated a conscientious approach to the original design and construction of the building which was evident from the LCA results. The LCA results for the mud brick home pointed to notable carbon savings compared to the benchmark and showcased a number of impressive sustainable design features.
- Date: April 2014
- Builder: Peter Hickson – Earth Building Solutions
- Location: NSW
Low Carbon Structure
Mud bricks are inherently low carbon, particularly in this instance where they were constructed by hand onsite using mud found onsite. You cant get much lower impact on the environment than that! The initial embodied impacts of the mud brick walls are virtually zero. Further superior material choices include solid oregon beams which were recovered from a nearby beach house. The beams will no doubt outlast this house as well given their structural strength. The house has been constructed in traditional post, beam and rafter which means a higher chance of end-of-life recovery as opposed to modern framing which tends to use shorter nailed gangs and glue.
Renewable Heat Sources
The bulk of the thermal load is a heating requirement. This is managed with a slow combustion wood heater. The hot water is provided by a bank of 30 evacuated tubes which can be more efficient than the standard flat plates. The tubes have not yet been installed with a backup heat source (gas or electric is common) as it has not yet been required. The hope is that the system will provide 100% of the hot water throughout the year.
This assessment was conducted by Pat.