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Earthbag Building & Other Natural Building Methods

Cody Lundin’s Zero Energy Home

Cody Lundin’s energy efficient, sustainable home

Cody Lundin’s energy efficient, sustainable home


No heating or air conditioning, and yet Cody’s house stays around 72 degrees Fahrenheit. Cody’s website and book explain how he built his ferrocement house. You could build a house like this with earthbags on the sides and ferrocement on the roof.

“It’s winter in the high desert as I write this, and last night the thermometer outside read 9 degrees F (minus 13 degrees C), a bit colder than typical and, ironically, part of the same storm system that left 500,000 people without power in the Midwest. Regardless of single-digit temperatures, my home remained a cozy 72 degrees F (22 degrees C), and it did so without using any conventional energy resources. I have no heating bills of any kind and I don’t burn wood. My home is heated entirely by the free clean energy of the sun, a phenomenon commonly referred to as “passive solar.” Along with orienting my home solar south, I have the proper square footage of windows to match the square footage of my home so that it doesn’t under- or overheat. These windows let in shortwave radiation from the sun that soaks into my stone floor during the day. At night when outside temperatures dip, the stone floor, which is a great conductor of the sun’s energy, re-radiates the stored sunshine, or heat, as long-wave radiation that keeps the house warm. Insulation and thermal mass help retain the heat throughout the night. The process starts anew the next day. Even though my home is dependent on the sun for heat, it’s designed to retain this comfort for several days of cloudy weather or storms.”

Full article at Cody Lundin.com

Note: Cody’s house design works in part because he is in a very mild climate. As Kelly Hart points out, the ground temperature in his area is about 70 degrees, so it takes very little solar gain to keep the house warm in winter. This design would need to be modified for extremely cold and hot climates.

Cody is a world famous survival expert. Search YouTube for Cody Lundin survival videos.

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20 Responses to “Cody Lundin’s Zero Energy Home”

  1. Keely Blando says:

    I am so glad I stumbled upon your site. I really found you by mistake, while I was browsing on Google for something else. Anyways I am here now and would just like to say thank you for a great post and an all round enjoyable blog. (I also like the theme/design), I don’t have time to read through it all at the moment, but I have added your website to my favorites, so when I have time I will be back to read more. Please do keep up the awesome job!

  2. Robert Vega says:

    I’ve been watching these shows since they’ve started. I really did enjoy man, woman, wild as well. I often wondered what it would be, not as an experiment, but as a living to self sustainable living out in the open country. If there was a way that i could somehow conjure up at least $50k for say, travel expenses and some basic survival equipment, I then think i would be able to do this sojurn. My concern would be that once you shut yourself out to the rest of main stream society, what would you do for medical attention in the event of an emergency, or like say some life altering ailment or malaise of some sort? I am 46, and i can honestly say i am not the society type, or the type that can make it in general society as i have tried the grind of job, shelter, and minor creature comforts. My best efforts were 4 years on my own. I do know that from others that i have worked with in society setting work is no enemy to me. I am accustomed to doing 12 to 14 hours in a day. I’ve done as much as 80 – 100 hour work weeks on and off. One stretch lasted nearly 6 weeks. I’m used to being on my own working and being alone. However that was the case 10 years ago. I don’t know, if at this age, i can hack it. Communal living on the other hand is doable, but only with people you can trust. I am really contemplating this. At 46 that would be, i believe more stress on me, as survivalist living is more for young people starting out, then working their way into self sustainability. Physical conditioning would be a factor for me.

  3. linda donham says:

    I ENJOYED COMMENTS ABOUT AGENDA 21. I HAD JUST HAPPENED ON TO THIS SITE.

  4. Alberto says:

    I live in Japan and I would like to know about projects for places like here, where since March 11 we have 5.0 earthquakes almost every day.
    Also We have a very cold winter( -10C) and on summers around 30C, 38C…
    And have you heard about the earthbags without Iron?

  5. Nick says:

    No problem, Owen. One should always follow one’s passion, and it’s clear earth buildings are yours. In any case, it will certainly be interesting to see how things shake out. Catch you in another post.

  6. Nick says:

    Actually, Owen, I feel positive about things, despite all evidence to the contrary. I think the more that the men in charge push, the harder they push, the more they sow the seeds of their own destruction because their very brutality causes people to wake up to what going on, and they don’t like what they see. Let me give you an example.

    I lived on the Gulf Coast during that oil crisis, I’m sorry I can’t recall the name of it just now, but you know what I’m speaking of, I’m sure. All of a sudden, because of the actions of the BP oil company millions of people lost their living, many of them were poisoned by constant flights of that nasty oil dispersant for many miles inland, and many of them knew despair like they have never known it before. Largely uneducated, but proud people, had to ask for handouts, had to beg BP for some compensation, had to watch their health, or the health of their families ruined. I’m talking shrimpers, fishermen, others living there and depending on service jobs, etc… The government clearly gave them the finger, and stood with BP during that fiasco, and millions of them and everyone else across this nation understood that. As a citizen, how do you come back from something like that? You don’t. All of a sudden you realize not only that no one in government truly cares about you, but your life has an actual cost, and if that cost is exceeded you should do the polite thing, and go away and die in some corner, because business is business.

    That’s just one example, but the Agenda 21 land grabs are easy to find on the net, and the financial destruction they cause to families is hard to read about. The housing crisis has caused a lot of misery, and most of it was gaming the system for profit, to make money all through the process. The Wall Street fiasco caused many people to lose their retirement savings, or much of them, and these people will never be made whole – unlike the banks and brokerage houses. When they get older, and are broke, they’ll get a suicide counseling session by their health care system adviser. The drive to eliminate health supplements and organic food is another aspect of this mistake they’re making, when it would just be easier to allow people to buy what they like – how many of us can afford expensive organic food, or many supplements. But it makes sense when you realize it’s not about nutrition, but about submission. I could go on for hours, but you get my meaning, Owen. The smart thing would be to seem as kind but stern heads of state working for the people, enriching themselves while we exist on their scraps, but they seem determined to keep pushing, until things explode – again, that submission angle is in play.

    To answer your questions: No, I don’t think they’ll wait years, they’ve already started, I’m just saying the sheer size of the task ensures that if you live in smaller communities, in relatively isolated rural areas you’ll be the last on the list for smart growth, and it may be a while before they get to you. They’ll push it first in the huge metropolis areas, and many such areas like Portland and Houston, most of the East Coast cities are already on board. I saw a list somewhere, I’ll try to find it again but it was stunning that so many places had signed up for it already, many of them quite small towns, say 30,000 people and up. But people are starting to fight it in individual ways and in groups, and both Republicans and Democrats have started educating their voters about Agenda 21. Here are just two examples but I think there are about 6 – 8 groups educating on this topic, and with the internet you can reach a lot of people.

    http://fellowshipofminds.wordpress.com/2012/01/14/14-republicans-standing-tall-against-agenda-21/

    http://www.democratsagainstunagenda21.com/

    I think people are too cynical now for any false flag scenario to be carried off, and believed. Even if the majority do buy it, say 60% or so, the sizable cynical minority will act as something of a spiritual drag against the story – in order to really sell a story, you really need almost 100% belief, and every doubter is a small pinprick deflating the story, looking for evidence that it’s a fraud and so on.

    I’m sure they imagine martial law will solve all their problems, and we’ll probably see it at some point, localized, for instance in rioting cities, but I don’t think you’ll see it all across the USA. We have more military trained veterans out of service, than in, and such people then to be more traditional than the politicians, seeing the Constitution with more respect than the politicians, and if these people revolt against martial law they have the skills to hurt them badly, and more, they’ll have the willingness to pass these skills along. I could of course be mistaken, there are so many balls up in the air, world wide economic disaster, nuclear war, and so on, but if you think the suits in Washington are controlling events, you’re mistaken. They’re riding the bull, hoping they wont get crushed, but they’re playing a dangerous game, for everyone.

    I’m no seer, but as I said I’m feeling optimistic when it’s all said and done. Here’s an article that sort of captures that feeling:

    Tyranny’s Last Stand: The Tipping Point is Here
    Michael Edwards
    Oct 2010

    In Malcolm Gladwell’s provocative book The Tipping Point, he gives many examples of how seemingly small, insignificant decisions can radiate to cause an eventual wave of change that overtakes the prevailing modes of behavior. He clearly extrapolates how the silent leaders of society—not the ones on TV, or the ones we appoint—set trends through their singular ability to recognize an underlying need, or change of direction. It can be as simple as a clothing style, a type of cuisine, a new travel destination. . . or the need to change the world’s political course. I believe there are signs that The Tipping Point for free humanity has been reached; from here on out, there will be an open dialogue between the forces of tyranny and the forces of freedom.
    The idea that in order to recognize tyranny, you must force it to act as such is very much the case right now. Humanity is rebelling worldwide to the dictates of elite overlords and petty bureaucrats alike. The small, silent statements of resistance have reached a classic tipping point. Whether it is tax rebellion, free speech, freedom of religion, the freedom to speak out against endless war, women’s rights in oppressive regimes, or the freedom to grow one’s own food in peace, the small defeats and victories have become a sustained chorus of resistance to ever-increasing forces of control. This chorus has coalesced from the choirs of different nations, different genders, different political affiliations, different races, and different socioeconomic positions. This is the ultimate sign of a true tipping point: critical mass has been reached.
    The modern pantheon of enemies has now been identified, along with their demiurges, by even the most common of men. The enemies are the banking consortium; the global elite born and bred from mega-wealth; the academics and economists who disconnect ideas from reality; and the scientific and military minds who are so compartmentalized by design that they rarely know what sort of dictatorship to which they are making their contributions. These are the groups that every man, woman, and child recognizes instinctively, because they are the same personalities encountered in our childhood. Until this point, these dictators have had the smugness to assume that the ones they view as the weak would cower forever.
    These tyrants have vastly underestimated the power of numbers and the exponential factors by which simple numbers can increase to create a tipping point that can cause an overnight sea change. The few who had the most courage, while enduring mass ridicule, have spoken out for decades against a coming full spectrum tyranny. These natural leaders are now raising their voices even louder and more urgently. Some of these pioneers have withdrawn from their previous missions in acknowledgment of The Tipping Point; many have decided to redouble their efforts. Regardless, little by little their collective audience has grown; whether in stadiums, or on Web sites, or in home discussion groups; the numbers have swelled, prompting a massive fear response from tyrants who know instinctually when an uprising is taking place.
    So now we see tyranny emerging in its most blatant form: citizen spies; government COINTELPRO operations against peaceful assembly; technological surveillance of every stripe, and the jackbooted common thug promoted to the top of the class in order to enforce an increasingly regimented society where thought is an actual liability.
    The good news is that it is already too late for the forces of tyranny; they have had their reign for long enough — The Tipping Point has been reached. The previous fence-straddlers — even from the mainstream media — are now sounding the alarm. And true patriots everywhere who have seen the writing on the wall for a long time coming are now sounding the charge. Tyranny has been fatally weakened by its continual pursuit of the lowest common denominator. All that remains is a hollow shell without the substance to counter a new Humanity tipping toward unbridled freedom.

    The Tipping Point Has Passed: Sweeping Change is at Hand
    Michael Edwards
    Jan 2011

    When so many diverse forces converge and conflict, a tipping point of global awareness to the human condition is reached. The momentum must spill over into a time of sweeping change.

    The Awakening
    We head onward toward 2012 and the awakening provided by our choices from the myriad scenarios of “apocalypse.” At the very least, the political veil has been lifted from a tyranny that has revealed itself on a global scale for those who recognize it from the historical record. But what comes after our scenario of choice? Are we entering a new age of savages, or have we been enlightened from the perspective offered by experience and education? Are we as prepared for a state of peace, as we are of collapse? The signs are promising, primarily due to the scale of the oppression and danger we face. Ironically, the wider the threat travels, the more united humanity actually becomes. Peaceful protests, as well as violent confrontations are on the rise as economic and social crises have passed the point of no return. For those who have felt that they could distance themselves from what happens to people in other places and cultures, the present situation is a wake-up call.
    Even the media machine designed to lull us to sleep has been revealed as a part of the problem. The rise of alternative media, and the steps taken to suppress it are all signs that the awakening has reached a crescendo, precipitating a major paradigm shift. There is perhaps no greater current example of this than the social change expressing itself in Egypt. The most populous Arab nation is using all means of freedom they possess, and are uprising against their oppressive regime across lines of politics, age, and economics.

    Enter the radical: stages Left and Right
    Our age is one of extremes: one can see this in our entertainment, our politics, our solutions to the spectrum of problems we face . . . and even our physical climate. This would indicate that it is a time for choosing sides — anathema as it is for those who are inclusive by nature. It is a challenging time for those of us who would like to see all sides of every issue, liberally interpreting the dialogue in a collective mantra for the human race. Such a being is branded with any one of the scarlet letters assigned to the prevailing political parties of our modern world. For those of us who would like to preserve a once-great nation, a political dogma, a religious instruction, or a fixed set of guiding principles, we find ourselves on a runaway train of manipulated change, environmental change, and technological change. From either left-right spectrum, the stage upon which we have been told we can act is a moving one. So, from where exactly can we act our part?

    The grace of our intellect
    We are in this struggle due to the profound nature of our ability to discern the stimuli of our environment. We are not animals, and we are not (yet) robots. Some of us are; others wish to be; most are not even close. No other being, so far as we can tell, has been able to harness their abilities and flaws to produce such world-encompassing results. Perhaps this is what is worth saving, and why our destructive capacities haven’t yet overwhelmed us. Perhaps this is why global “elites” who feel that their breeding and master planning are the symphony of humankind haven’t yet hit the correct note. Amid the vast attempts at government-run oppression, there has never been a more empowering time for the individual. Across the globe, the average person has far more access to information and creative technology than at any time in human history. This is a genie that cannot be put back into the bottle, save a physically catastrophic event that forces humanity back into the dark ages. The human intellect is expanding and evolving in a way that is rendering divide-and-conquer strategies much less effective.

    The Dialogue
    In recent months, the open dialogue between tyranny and freedom has hit its crescendo in Europe and North Africa. America, the country of extremes, has yet to respond to its own brand of tyranny. The surveillance state is now entrenched; free speech is set to be eradicated; and the Internet kill switch has been placed in the White House, while it has been calmly announced that world is indeed run by “Globocrats,” but not a conspiracy. And yet we are aware of it en masse. The alternative media, talk radio, lone activists, card-carrying organization members, and Facebook virtual activists are all something new for the managers of society to deal with. This certainly has not been present in past closed totalitarian systems. The dialogue is becoming heated to a point where the elite controllers seem to be worried about what they might have overlooked in their desire to predict and control mass populations. So much so that they have engaged us, seemingly looking for a truce . . . or perhaps a bait and switch. They have been pushed to the limit of revealing their structure and many of their actions because of free humanity’s mass awakening. They now want to have a role within our human world; a place where they feel that they very well could be excluded. The new world being born through climatic and technological change is one that very well could be total chaos. In such a world, the all-encompassing State has no role; the individual regains control over their own actions and solutions to the problems which lie ahead. The worldwide protests taking place are a clear sign that individuals are feeling powerful even in the face of increasing threats. Each form of resistance is communicated on a global scale, and serves as an example to others, building into a powerful force of solidarity. The more oppressive the response by governments, the nearer to victory we are.
    Free humanity finds itself at center stage between the left-right forces of radicalism, as it seeks to find a point of stability and growth. It is further proof that the essence of what humanity is has expanded its importance. So, choose your bible; choose your party; or choose none of it. One way or another massive change is coming. Where do you wish to stand?

    • Owen Geiger says:

      Thanks for pulling this together Nick. We’re definitely approaching some sort of tipping point as you say. No one knows how it will unfold exactly, but it’s pretty clear what’s going on and there will eventually be a big confrontation. I’m going to make a blog post about the other topic, but this Agenda 21 issue is maybe too extreme for our blog. I don’t want to get too far off topic or radical sounding. I think most people are aware what’s going on and would rather read about positive solutions — how to build a dirt cheap sustainable home, for instance. So that remains my focus. And judging by the skyrocketing traffic, I think we’re on the right course. Thanks again for covering this difficult issue.

  7. Nick says:

    Sure, Owen, here are my thoughts on the U.N. Agenda 21 for your article, but I left California years ago so I’m not too in touch with the West Coast either, I just know CA, OR & WA is run by Agenda 21 supporters. Feel free to edit it, if you find it unsuitable as is. Here goes:

    No doubt you’ve heard of Agenda 21. Google it, read the official line, http://www.un.org/esa/dsd/agenda21/ and you’ll be left with a warm, cozy, happy feeling. You’ll see a world wide global commitment, trusty public servants thinking decades ahead of nothing but the best for the public welfare, high tech, vital, urban centers, and in some places this goal may actually be achieved, though you’re not supposed to look at several very nasty hooks you’ll find in these areas, but we’ll save that for later. Later, because Agenda 21 is all about greed, and control – all other benefits are incidental.

    Some of the buzzwords bandied about these days to sell this plan, are “transit corridors”, which means nasty NAFTA like routes which are planned to roll where the bureaucrats want them, using eminent domain laws to strip private property from people at fire-sale prices, “smart growth”, which means total control of all construction, coupled with high cost building permits & inspections, “high-density stacked housing” which means chicken coops in plain English, and so on.

    I spoke of greed, and keep in mind this is a world wide commitment under a U.N. treaty and let the sheer amount of wealth boggle the mind. Let’s pick a 10 mile long, 3 mile wide swath of land, determined to be a suitable place to begin smart growth. First of all, the city uses eminent domain laws to buy out every piece of property in that area, and let’s say that area held 1,000 homes and some small businesses for the sake of argument. The city is smart, doesn’t want a nasty P.R. spectacle and allocates 100 million to buy this area out, though they could pay much less. They turn right around and sell the area to developers for twice that amount right off the bat, or work some gov-private partnership that brings developers in, and they get to work.

    They build 4 to 10 foot condo buildings in some areas and instead of 1,000 housing units, they now have 10,000 units, and condos in every city I’ve lived at sold from $50,000 on up to a million, so some already exceed the price of the single family homes they replaced, because they’re selling the thriving neighborhood, you see. Since we’re talking high density, there will be other buildings which will have restaurants on the bottom floors, dentists offices, etc… so all of a sudden you’ve boosted your property taxes from 3-5 million a year, to many times that amount, and people will come to what they built and keep building, if they want to remain in that city, because the city government will all of a sudden stop giving out building permits, or make them much more costly and time-consuming propositions – for the children, for the environment, you fill in the blanks. But hey, we’ve got this nice 800 sq foot condo for you, on a 50 year mortgage.

    This isn’t even the end of it. A war is being waged out there, trying to drive rural people off the land through environmental regulations, through food safety regulations which drive small scale farmers, organic or otherwise, out of business and since they can’t support their families off the land any more, many will move to the cities to try to find work, thus increasing the number of renters/buyers of smart growth housing, while the land is being emptied of people, just as Agenda 21 dictates. Take a look at the amount of land already held by the federal government, and then tell me why A21 needs more land. http://bigthink.com/ideas/21343

    If you don’t know, I’ll tell you: control. As a whole, people living on the land, and off the land as it were, are notoriously difficult to control. They grow their own food, tend to be thrifty so they’re not the greatest consumers. Lovable tramps like off-gridders and back to nature types are even worse consumers, because they work side jobs which are really hobbies, just allowing them to scrape by sometimes, without much of a tax liability, they don’t even buy expensive, heavy machinery like tractors and combines, and focus on gardening and small, cheap, livestock like rabbits, chickens, etc… which aren’t very demanding. So you drive these people off the land and into the cities and you increase rents, and increase housing prices, and taxes rise, and everyone is happy that Agenda 21 is working so well. Then you make money from those who supply services, cable tv companies, etc… the tighter you pack them, the more money you make.

    Now you have humanity living in high-density smart growth cities, and they’re easy to spy on, easy to control, easy to tax, easy to brainwash, and since they don’t have the room to provide for their own needs and so become in one way or another dependents, clients of the state, even if only by depending on a check and groceries in the store and a place to live, which puts them on a treadmill, because they can never stop running now, they’ve got bills to pay.

    Now, not every area will get into the smart growth immediately, this country is too big for that. Some rural areas, which are not yet slated for development, will continue as they are for 5 years, or 10, maybe 20, but eventually they’ll get around to everyone, because you’re not allowed to just live on the land with a mere token of submission( property taxes ), you have to be numbered, herded into cities and towns and put to more productive work for your betters, so that you can earn more, and pay more.

    Even if your community is not meant to get the axe yet, there are hints in the air. In some places, where you’ve drilled your own well, often for thousands of dollars, the governments are talking about charging you a monthly fee for that water, even though they’ve done nothing for you, whereas for city people they’ve piped the water to the house, cleansed it, and gave them a healthy does of fluoride to help your mental processes. Everywhere, every year it seems, they try to push that stupid animal ID act on the people, so they know what you have, when they want to take it. And don’t think you have the right to buy a sweet tomato from a small farmer, you are mistaken.
    http://www.foodrenegade.com/your-choice-of-food-fundamental-right/
    On the other hand, it’s your patriotic duty to eat Gulf seafood.

    And so on: here are some of the great things Agenda 21 is responsible for, as a tool to prod people into their places. This is just what I browsed tonight, but you can find many more examples with a simple search.

    http://ppjg.wordpress.com/2011/12/14/feds-push-ahead-to-end-farming-and-ranching-in-sikiyou-county/

    http://ppjg.wordpress.com/2011/12/29/government-to-government-plan-to-seize-control-of-all-foods/

    http://ppjg.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/the-vicious-domestic-enemy-of-rural-america/#more-19226

    • Owen Geiger says:

      That’s a lot to think about. They’ve been talking about this stuff for decades. So you think a lot of it will be implemented in the next 10 years? Do you think the gov will ratchet up the pressure slow enough that large numbers of people don’t mobilize against them? For instance, they’ll pick isolated areas here and there versus large swaths. Do you foresee any sudden events that would speed things up considerably like staged rural terrorism?

    • Jim says:

      I do want to say that until I found Owen’s, and also Kelly’s sites, I didnt think it would be possible for my family to own a home without going in debt until we are in the grave. We are in the process of trying to find a place to move that will allow us to build with earthbags. I am hoping that all this will come together at a price that we can manage, but Im not sure. As of now I am looking for a job; I will graduating with a Bachelors in Science majoring in Accounting after this semester, but have yet to be able to find work here in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. I am not the typical student, I am a 41 yr old, father of two, married to my wife of the past 19 years (only one,lol). We are hoping that the life changing injury that caused me to return to school will turn into a positive event for our family, finding a less expensive way to own a home would be one of them. Kelly and Owen, thank you for all you do on your blogs, they are needed!

  8. Nick says:

    Cody’s house is very nice. He doesn’t discuss cost, but I get the feeling it was pretty expensive to build. If not, kudos to CL.

    On a side topic, a gov mouthpiece was on the tv today, encouraging people to switch from a 30 year mortgage to a 50 year mortgage! 50 years!! Har, har, har… And they say slavery’s been abolished.

    I think the sheer lunacy of the housing situation, what you pay versus what you get, will insure that alternative means of construction will prevail in the end. Even if you don’t have the patience to build yourself, you can buy a steel warehouse building, say 30X40, and play with it to your heart’s content–stone facing on the outside, rice hull insulation indoors, clay walls to cover the rice hulls and steel, earth floor, half height earthbag fencing around the house for utility and beauty–and you’ll still only spend $20,000 versus half a million or more with a 50 year mortgage.

    It’s going to be a tug of war though, between Agenda 21 and it’s “smart growth” proponents in government who want to stack us high in cities, and people who want to be left alone on their own little patch of dirt and an earthbag/strawbale/etc… house.

    • Owen Geiger says:

      Check, check and check. I agree on all points. I think Cody’s house — or one similar built by contractors and engineered to meet code in the US — would be quite expensive. I wasn’t going to feature his house here because of that, but then a reader convinced me to take a second look because the uniqueness and zero energy concepts.

      50 year loans… what a crock. Millions of people are already losing their homes in the current ‘housing casino’ fiasco. I wonder how many people will fall for it?

      I particularly like what you said about “the sheer lunacy of the housing situation, what you pay versus what you get, will insure that alternative means of construction will prevail in the end.” I really believe that’s true. People are waking up big time. Take away people’s homes, and make other housing alternatives unaffordable, and people are bound to start looking for low cost options. This seems worthy of a new blog post…

      Agenda 21 is troubling, to say the least. It’s just a matter of time to see how fast their master control plan will be rolled out. All it would take is a few staged terror attacks and the gov could come down hard and fast.

      • Nick says:

        Hi Owen,
        I checked back to see if anyone would think the 50 year mortgage as insane as I did – I’m in my mid 40′s and it boggled my mind that I’d have been a slave for my entire life, +5 years just to own a plywood & plasterboard shack that requires constant maintenance to not disintegrate, especially in the humid South. The bankers really do want you to become an adult, and then work for them for your entire life until you die, paying them rent, the pharma groups not far behind, with their belief that everyone of us needs to be on lifelong medications just to line their pockets. Ridiculous.

        Another reason for pushing these 50 year mortgages, by the way, is that the robo-signing scandal and real estate fraud that took place during the bubble puts them in serious jeopardy of losing during the foreclosure process, in court, if those people have a good lawyer. By getting fresh signatures on new, proper, documents and invalidating the old fraudulent documents, they gain a much stronger position in any future foreclosure process, and as a final bonus, they also turn some non-recourse mortgages into full recourse mortgages, if state law allows this.

        A21 is indeed troubling. They’re rolling it out in Northern California and Southern Oregon at the moment, and I expect Washington state will also roll over easily for it, although it’s encouraging to note that people in Oregon are starting to organize, pooling their resources to fight it. Speaking from areas I’m familiar with, the people in Arizona, Wyoming, Idaho, New Mexico and Texas will fight it, and I suspect the people in Kentucky, Tennessee and the Carolinas will do so as well. Colorado might have fought it once, but I have the feeling they’ve been too Californicated by now, the old school guys numerically overcome, to fight back now. Still, it’s not a done deal yet.

        As per A21, all over the country they’ve been blocking access to national forests under some pretext or another – in the East, using white-nose disease in bats, in other parts not maintaining roads, or actively blocking them, etc… – here in New Mexico – Luna and Lincoln counties – they tried blocking off the national forests with the threat of arresting trespassers. Thankfully, both of those counties had sheriffs with some balls, who called up a citizen militia and paid the feds a visit, telling them that interfering with any of the citizens of their counties enjoyment of the national forests, would get them arrested, not the citizens.

        Sorry for my rant, and feel free to edit it if you feel it veers too far off topic, but it’s time to wake up and smell the dung we’re wading in.

        • Owen Geiger says:

          You’re cracking me up. I really like this part: “it boggled my mind that I’d have been a slave for my entire life, +5 years just to own a plywood & plasterboard shack that requires constant maintenance to not disintegrate”. This is how I’ve felt all my life. Now it’s screamingly obvious unless you’re blind to what’s going on. I plan to use this part with your previous comments in a new blog post within a few days.

          And maybe you could update us on the A21 roll out in on the west coast. I hear bits and pieces. It would be good to hear it put forth coherently from someone who’s actually seen what’s going on so it doesn’t sound conspiratorial.

  9. Jim says:

    Owen,

    Thank you for all of your help! I am convinced that an earthbag house can be built like this, with the roof being ferrocement. Can you, or Mr. Hart, give an idea of what kind changes would need to be made to his design? Im not a 100% sure my wife would like to live in a cave like his but it does seem like it is very energy efficient.

    Also, after talking with a gentleman from Precision Structural Engineering, I am more encouraged. He told me to contact you for drawings for earthbag homes, do you offer this type of service?

    I think my wife is/may be more interested in a home similar to this;

    http://www.structure1.com/html/earthbag5.htm

    However, we would want the ability to add on smaller earthbag rooms and a ferrocememnt roof; the idea of using wood for the roof seems to defeat the purpose of building with earthbags; fire,flood, impact, and wind resistent, less cost. What are your thoughts?

    • Owen Geiger says:

      I have over 120 earthbag house plans and also do custom designs: http://earthbagplans.wordpress.com/

      The photos at that link show a vault design made with earthbags and ferrocement roof. That’s how you could build a house similar to Cody’s. You’ll want to adapt the design to your area. It doesn’t have to be a ‘cave’. You can make it wider in front and narrower from front to back to increase solar gain. This method does not lend itself to adding on in the future unless you create vaulted passageways like the rear entrance to Cody’s house. (Search google for more pics.) And building below grade requires extra care waterproofing to prevent leaks.

  10. Juergen says:

    Especial the “Dual Survival” series (broadcasted on Discovery) is one of my favourites.

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