Frequently Asked Questions
What is natural building?
Natural building involves a range of building systems and materials that place major emphasis on sustainability. Ways of achieving sustainability through natural building focus on durability and the use of minimally processed, plentiful or renewable resources, as well as those that, while recycled or salvaged, produce healthy living environments and maintain indoor air quality. Natural building tends to rely on human labor, more than technology.
What is cob building and how does it differ from natural building?
Cob is one of the oldest building methods and is simply a mixture of clay, sand, water, and straw. One charming youTube video says that the difference between natural building and cob is the dumpster. Cob is all natural, coming completely from the earth, leaving behind no waste, and requires a significant amount of human labor.
How do cob buildings withstand the natural elements like fire, rain, wind, and earthquakes?
This method of building has withstood the challenge of time over many centuries, from the Netherlands to the heart of Africa and from the Far East to Mountains of the Americas. Of the oldest, a 7-story cob building is still standing in Yemen after 900 years. This building method is resilient to fire, rain, wind, and earthquakes.
Is cob building a municipally approved building method?
This has been the struggle for years by many natural building enthusiasts. Very few places in the world have a prescriptive code for cob building; these include New Zealand and New Mexico. When cob building was permitted outside these areas, they were subject in many cases to unnecessary modifications and added costs. This was mainly due to the limited understanding of cob. Ecoheal’s mission is to create solutions so cob may be a universally accepted building method.
What is it exactly that Ecoheal offers as a building solution and how does it meet code approval?
The founder of Ecoheal recognized the need for a new scientific language to alleviate the concerns of code officials, provide the necessary metrics for structural engineers, and yet remain affordable to the public. After years of hard work, he integrated his newly patented forming system with a scientific procedure manual. His first full-scale application of this model is the Ecoheal Center Building, which is the first commercial code-approved cob building in the US.
What are the health benefits of cob building?
Our understanding of cob building continues to expand. Clay has a detoxifying effect, is resistant to EMF radiation, and protects the bio-diversity of the indoor microbiomes. There is mounting evidence of the correlation between human health and a balanced biodiversity of our intestinal flora. It is comforting to know that the biodiversity of the indoor microbiome is preserved by earthen building. In addition, mold growth is also prevented due to the porous quality of cob and the alkaline quality of the lime that lines the walls. In addition, cob holds an excellent psychometric quality due to thermal and humidity modulations over the seasons, so that people who walk into a cob building just feel good. It's amazing how often our visitors to the Ecoheal Center say this.
How economical it is to build with cob?
Building with cob is a skill that can be easily learned. You could build with cob economically if time is on your side and if you have the proper technical support. To speed up the process, you may need an army of people. Traditionally, this is where the entire community steps in, one home at a time. The average cost of a cob home, if a specialized crew is hired, is about three times the cost of a conventional home of the same size. With our Earthen Forming System, Ecoheal reduces the amount of time and labor required by 30 fold, finally making building with earth an affordable reality.
What are Ecoheal’s pre-designed microhomes?
Ecoheal offers three sizes of pre-designed microhomes, including studio, one bedroom, and two bedroom options. Significant effort was made to provide the simplest construction approach at the highest affordability possible.
How quickly can I build using Ecoheal’s forming system?
Weather permitting, it takes a month and a half on average to construct the building shell. We estimate that it will take about 3-4 months to complete each of our pre-designed Microhomes.
Do you provide workshops and/or seminars for those interested in building with your method?
Indeed, we offer seminars and workshops that are geared toward specific audiences, including home owners, builders, developers, code officials, school administrators, NGOs, farmers, and governmental and international organizations. Click here to check out upcoming events at the Ecoheal Center.
Please contact us with any further questions you may have!