Dismayed by the costs of home ownership in Australia, a West Australian couple is building their castle out of earth bags to escape the mortgage trap. Kate and Scott Ryan-Taylor made the decision to build with earthbags after realizing the conventional path to home ownership was too costly.
The couple estimate their home will cost less than $40,000 to build, and have invited volunteers from across Australia to stay on their 27-acre property and help with the construction. In exchange, volunteers learn firsthand how to build with earthbags.
“The only way we can live the life we want is to build something that were not going to be paying off for 50 years.
After deciding against commonplace building methods, Mr and Mrs Ryan-Taylor realized they had a cost-free building material right beneath their feet. The bags are filled with a combination of sand, clay and gravel and laid in rows like bricks to build the walls of the dome-shaped structure.
Mr and Mrs Ryan-Taylor described their home as Australia’s first earth-bag home to receive full council approval for residential purposes.
The couple purchased the original plans for their earth bag home from a US website, and then spent months studying building codes to ensure the original design met Australian standards. “We had to look at everything, from the energy efficiency to bushfire safety, an engineer to sign off on the foundations and structural integrity of the building, and a building surveyor to do a certified design compliance.”
The couple said they dealt with plenty of skepticism along the way. “To get to that point, we actually had to educate nearly every single authority about earth-bags,” Mrs Ryan-Taylor said. “The exception being the engineer, who had dealt with similar types of buildings in the UK.”
After two years and several compromises on the original design concept, Mr and Mrs Ryan-Taylor had met Australia building codes and received full council approval.
The couple planned to continue construction on their home at a cracking pace, with more volunteers expected to arrive. “I was managing to get one row of bags done every week or two,” Mr Ryan-Taylor said. “We’re going to get one or even two done today alone.” Mrs Ryan-Taylor said in exchange for their time, volunteers learned how to cut through council red tape and saw how to build their own earth-bag home.
You can read the original article at https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-06-18/wa-couple-builds-earth-bag-dome-to-escape-mortgage-trap/9878618