Find the Construction subheading in the Permaculture chapter.
Houses built with traditional earth technologies using indigenous knowledge make up the largest number of houses in the informal housing sector in South Africa.
Natural building is any building system which places the highest value on social and environmental sustainability. It assumes the need to minimise the environmental impact of our housing and other building needs while providing healthy, beautiful, comfortable and spiritually-uplifting homes.
Natural materials like stone, wood, straw and earth are not only non-toxic, they are life-enhancing. There is a good feeling we get from natural buildings which is difficult to describe. Even though conditioned to prefer the new, the shiny, and the precise, we respond at a deep level to unprocessed materials.
Some role players
- Berg en Dal Ecovillage www.berg-en-dal.co.za A six-day training offered in Natural Building (cob, mud, straw bale, rock etc)
- Booyens, Jaco www.rysmierberg.com Architect
- HAPPI (Homeless And Poor People’s Initiative) http://www.happi-online.org Consulting, teaching and training
- InSynch Sustainable Technologies http://insynch-projects.blogspot.com/
- McGregor Alternative Technology Centre www.mat.org.za
- Oudrif www.oudrif.co.za
- RUCORE Sustainability Foundation http://rucore.org.za
- Simply Sustainable www.simplysustainable.co.za Architects
Websites and publications
Visit the websites listed above.
For further information on straw bale construction look at:
- Straw Bale Construction Basics – www.i4at.org/lib2/strwbale.htm and www.strawbale.com
- The International Journal of Straw Bale and Natural Building http://thelaststraw.org
- While we’re on the subject of straw, have you heard of straw bale gardens? Take a look at www.jenreviews.com/straw-bale-garden/.
The following materials are looked at on www.strawbalecentral.com (take the “Building Techniques” menu option): Living roof; Natural Plasters and Finishes; Paper Blocks; Rammed Earth; Recycled Building Materials; Straw Bale Construction; Thatch; Wattle and Daub; Wood; Adobe; Bamboo; Cob; Compressed Earth Blocks; Earthbags; Earthen Floors; Earthships; Hybrid Structures; Light Straw-Clay (Leichtlehm); Hemp and other Fibres.
www.shelterpub.com. Shelter Online illustrates even more imaginative ways to put a roof over one’s head.
www.greenhomebuilding.com – “building today for tomorrow”
Readers of this chapter would find the Green Home Resource Guide interesting. See www.reviewlab.com/green-home-guide.