aummaster (aummaster) wrote in efficient_home,

Home Construction

Very nice do it yourself dry stack concrete home web site.

It is LONG but detailed on how the progress of building your own home goes.

Dry stack blocks are a good way to build a home with considerable thermal mass and high efficiency. It is very labor intensive but can be managed by the hopeful resident.
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you know, they say that about concrete, but every concrete block building i've ever lived or worked in (including the one i currently work in) is miserably cold and hard to heat and drafty. adobe brick makes so much more sense--it actually does retain heat powerfully (my current house is adobe), and isn't any harder to build with than any other kind of block.
Are the blocks filled core or open core? That is supposed to make a huge difference. A concrete block wall with filled core should be just about the same as an adobe wall. Here in Georgia building an adobe wall would be almost impossible I would think. It is terribly humid in the summer and rains a lot in the winter. Doesn't adobe have to be sun dried or baked like any other brick? Your in the south west right? I would use adobe out there too over concrete block.

Does it get cold where you are? I guess I could look at your profile and go to weather to see averages....
It looks like your winters are a little chillier but we are a lot damper. Humidity helps you to feel warmer in the winter but hotter in the summer.
yes, i'm in Albuquerque, NM, where it does get cold (and even snows, though admittedly it snows much more in the nearby mountains than it does in town), and where adobe is an ancient traditional matieral that makes sense. :-) traditionally, adobe is sun-cured for a couple-three months, or (less traditionally) it can be kiln-dried (like lumber). alternatively, one can use compressed adobe brick, which does not have to be dried as long (but still might take a long time in Georgia...i'd have to do more research (which i ought to do anyhow, as i may well end up building my place in the ecovillage with compressed adobe brick). to make this, you take adobe and pack it into a compressor (which looks like a big lever over a brick-size area where you put the mud) and then smash it. it makes very compact and regular bricks with smooth sides, which turn into very nice straight solid buildings with excellent solar potential and thermal mass. dirt cheap builder has a lot of info on it:

our ecovillage is going to be in the mountains north of Mora, NM, where it gets much colder, and passive solar building feels like a "must." (we're in the process of buying the land right now!)
i realized i didn't answer your question--i don't know if my office is filled-core or's cold, that's for sure. :) it also has high ceilings with potentially-not-airtight skylights, which is probably a major contributor to the cold in here.

we get more rain in the summer (in a good summer), and winters can be very dry...ideally, we'd get good autumn rains, too, and then good snowfall in feb/march, but the whole pattern is irregular these days. but it's never what a Georgian would call humid here. i can detect, by the feel of my skin, changes in humidity of 5% or more...that's how dry it is. *grin* (and i grew up out here, in Arizona, which is drier--see icon). :-D