CEB - Compressed Earth Block Construction - Simple, Sustainable, Natural, Cheap

Categories: Building Methods


Earth blocks are unfired, uniform building blocks, compressed from clay-retaining earth, suitable for use for load-bearing and non-load bearing walls, heat-accumulating walls, heat walls and Finnovens. An earth building forms as it were a third skin around the user and has a warm and restful ambiance.

Earth regulates the climate in the house naturally. The compressed earth blocks are not fired so that the unique moisture-regulating and heat-accumulating properties are preserved. The wall absorbs moisture in wet weather and gives it back when the air is dry. 
The bulk of the compressed earth blocks means that an earth wall can storeheat well and give it off again so that temperature fluctuations are fewer.
Earth emits no hazardous gasses or substances into the interior atmosphere and in addition neutralises cigarette smoke for example.

The constant relative humidity of approx. 50% in an earth interior climate prevents fungus forming. That is why an earth house is a "breath of fresh air" especially for people with problems with their airways.

The production process
The compressed earth blocks are produced by a mobile compressing machine, which is capable of producing blocks for larger projects on site as long as the building ground is of good quality. The fertile top soil is temporarily moved aside, the clay-retaining underlayer is dried by the sun and wind and then pulverised. It is then moistened and mixed with sand depending on the proportion of clay in the earth. The compressing machine now makes uniform earth blocks from this mixture which will be ready to be used after a few weeks of drying.

Sustainability and the environment
In many places in the earth (clay, silt, sand) is present in its natural form 20 to 30cm under the fertile top layer and can sometimes be extracted locally. Earth can also be dug out of the building excavations or can be a by-product of road and waterway projects.

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