In Colorado, one startup is constructing homes that are basically fireproof. And they’re doing it using an ancient building technique.
Colorado Earth, based in Golden, Colorado, was founded by engineer and architectural designer Lisa Morey. Morey was inspired to begin creating homes out of dirt after moving to New Zealand in 1999 to study architecture. There, she met and began working with a local architect who was building homes out of mud bricks.
Now, she does the same for clients in Colorado, building modern houses (that adhere to modern building codes) using compressed earth blocks made largely from a sandy-clay mixture.
According to Colorado Earth’s website, the company’s mission “is to scale the natural building industry in Colorado by offering an affordable wall system made from locally obtained material.”
As the overheating of our planet contributes to more and more extreme weather events, people have been forced to adapt every part of their lives to deal with those events — including, and sometimes especially, their homes.
Not only is Colorado Earth’s practice sustainable, but it is also able to create homes that are practically disaster-proof. The compressed earth blocks are resistant to fire, won’t blow over in high winds, can’t be picked up by a tornado, and are even waterproof, making them flood resistant as well.
The walls, which are 10 inches thick, are also good for keeping in heat during a cold spell and pushing heat out during a heatwave.
The next challenge for Colorado Earth is promoting its building practices until they’re popular enough that the construction industry at large wants to use them, which would result in an infrastructure and supply chain being put in place.
Then, these “earth-block” houses could be even less expensive than they are now and help to keep even more people safe from extreme weather events in their own homes.
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