Porous lava rock — scoria (cinders) and pumice — is an ideal building material. We’ve covered this amazing material many times on our blog, but I just learned something very exciting. It turns out scoria is available in Alaska, British Columbia and to some extent the Yukon. All these areas have cinder cones (a type of volcano) that produce scoria. This is great news because porous lightweight lava rock is a good insulator and also fireproof, rot proof, easy to work with and doesn’t attract pests. It’s affordable if there’s a nearby source to minimize shipping costs. So this discovery makes it practical to build lightweight superinsulated earthbag houses in Alaska and Canada. Use the search engine on the right to search this site for details and example projects.
Many people have asked me about how to build insulated buildings in Canada and Alaska and so far I always thought scoria was not available. No one ever looked. For instance, we’ve discussed this at length concerning my free Solar Pit House plan that’s designed for cold climates. Here are the free drawings. Search this blog for previous blog posts about scoria and the Solar Pit House.
Definition of cinders from Volcano Explorer:
“Cinders are usually red or reddish-brown with lots of vesicles (holes from bubbles) in them. Cinder is another name for scoria.” (All those holes trap air and make lava rock a good insulator.)
Image source: About.com