For one of our project in Saudi Arabia we are looking at different environmentally friendly materials that are suitable for a desert climate. This post focuses specifically on Rammed Earth. In case you have other suggestions, do not hesitate in leaving your comment!
One of the most enjoyable natural materials to work with is rammed earth. It is simply a mix of sand and clay-with chopped straw- mixed in the proper proportions to prevent cracking.
Some of its environmental advantages are:
- Its high thermal mass; it can absorb heat during the day and release it at night. This moderates daily temperature variations and reduces the need for air conditioning and heating.
- Control humidity: humidity is held between 40% and 60%, the ideal range for asthma sufferers.
- Breathable walls: the material mass and clay content of rammed earth allows the building to “breathe” more than concrete structures do, avoiding condensation issues without significant heat loss.
- Natural look: having the color and texture of natural earth.
- Good soundproofing: the thickness, typically 30 to 35 centimeters and density of rammed-earth walls make them suitable for soundproofing.
- Biodegradable as they are 100% made from natural materials.
One disadvantage is that the material must be protected from heavy rain.
Rick Joy who is the Principal of Rick Joy Architects is known to have used this material since the start of his career experimental with rammed earth in the different residential project he worked on as shown in the images below: