Check Out These 3 Earthbag Home Builders in the USA

A round earthbag house under construction so the earthbags can still be seen. The structural elements of the roof have also been put up and there are holes for an entrance and a window. Across the top of the image are the words "Earthbag Home Builders in the USA."

Image courtesy of homedit.

The construction industry contributes immensely to climate change by generating 38 percent of carbon dioxide emitted globally.

This means that the earlier we shift to sustainable and green building methods like earthbags, the better for our environment. However, finding earthbag home builders in the USA remains challenging for many.

Earthbag construction is not only environmentally friendly but also cost-effective.

Unlike conventional concrete buildings that cost hundreds of dollars per square foot, earthbag construction costs only between $7 and $16 per square foot.

Therefore, it’s a win-win situation – you conserve the environment while saving some serious bucks.

Since getting reliable earthbag home builders in the USA remains a stumbling block, I have decided to list the best of them.

In this article, you’ll find three earthbag home builders in the USA and why they are unique. Let’s dive in!

1. BE Structural

A screenshot of BE Structural's About page.
Image courtesy of BE Structural.

With over 20 years in operation, BE Structural is a premier name in the American earthbag home-building industry. The company is one of the leading sustainable and green building companies in Wormleysburg, PA.

BE Structural was founded in 2002 by Engineer Bruce Ensor. At the start, the company’s primary role was to offer professional consulting services in the following areas:

  • Structural engineering
  • Design
  • Repair
  • Rehabilitation
  • Forensic engineering

As time passed, the company’s management decided to start building sustainable and eco-friendly homes in the United States.

Although BE Structural is headquartered in Wormleysburg, PA, it services 49 U.S. states. Only Alaska is left out.

The company has experience designing and building earthbag homes from scratch and refurbishing existing structures.

BE Structural is among the few earthbag home builders in the country that offer a full suite of services from design to construction.

It’s your go-to option if you want earthbag structures that resemble hobbit homes.

The company’s primary services include:

  • Residential structural inspection.
  • Custom home design.
  • Home buying structural inspection.
  • Complete home renovation.
  • Solar system installation.
  • Industrial engineering services.

Why They Are Unique

BE Structural uses forensic structural engineering techniques to inspect and analyze existing structures. This technique ensures that their earthbag homes are constructible and efficient.

The company also offers customized designs for clients who want to bring their ideas to life. All you need is to communicate your vision, and BE Structural will provide an effective solution tailored to your needs.

BE Structural stands out from the crowd by providing a full suite of design and construction services. This eliminates the need for third-party contractors, thus saving you time and money in the long run.

Finally, the company has a robust supply chain management system that sources material from reliable suppliers. Therefore, you can rest assured that they will use quality materials for your earthbag structure.

2. PSE Consulting Engineers

A screenshot of PSE Consulting Engineers' website.
Image courtesy of PSE Consulting Engineers.

PSE Consulting Engineers, Inc. is a renowned earthbag home builder in the United States.

The company credits its expertise in earthbag building to architects Illiona Ourram and Nadel Khalil from the California Earth Art Institute.

According to this company, the institute played a central role in spearheading the adoption of earthbag homes throughout the United States.

The company was launched in 1998 by Dr. Nabil Taha, an engineering professor at the Oregon Institute of Technology. Back then, it was called Precision Structural Engineering.

PSE Consulting Engineers is licensed in all 50 states of the U.S. Moreover, it operates in Alberta, Saskatchewan, British Columbia, and Ontario in Canada.

The company provides antique earthbag buildings, focusing on preserving historical buildings and landmarks.

Besides using dirt in their earthbag buildings, they add gravel and peat for strength and stability. The top part of the house is usually covered with plaster to protect the occupants from sun and rain.

Why They Are Unique

  • Affordable construction: The company considers a customer’s needs and balances them to fit into the budget. Therefore, even if you’re on a low budget, they will devise something to meet your needs.
  • Designing energy-efficient structures: The company focuses on eliminating energy losses through insulation and airtightness when building earthbag homes. This means your home will be warm in winter and cool in summer, saving you money on energy bills.
  • Structural integrity: PSE Consulting Engineers utilizes forensic engineering techniques to ensure the structural integrity of their earthbag buildings. They also use state-of-the-art software and equipment to map a property and analyze the soil composition for maximum safety, stability, and longevity.
  • Designing sustainable structures: PSE Consulting Engineers considers the environment when constructing earthbag homes. They use environmentally friendly construction materials, such as recycled grain bags, burlap, misprints, and polypropylene. Moreover, they use on-site soil and other locally available materials for the fill material.

3. Cal-Earth

The CalEarth EcoDome, which is a house made from earthbags in a dome shape. The dome is unfinished and viewed from inside looking up. A worker can be seen working at the top of the dome against the blue sky with whispy white clouds. There are openings for windows and doors, through which
An EcoDome building under construction. The earthbags overlap to taper inwards, forming a dome shape. Image courtesy of Cal-Earth Inc./Geltaftan Foundation.

Cal-Earth, or the California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture, was founded by Nader Khalili in 1991. It is a non-profit organization devoted to researching and promoting earthbag building and other earth architecture techniques.

The institute trains hundreds of people in more than 40 countries in environmentally sustainable building and self-help. It does so on-site and through web-based educational programs.

Its core mandate is to alleviate the housing shortage, an issue that affects mostly refugees and displaced people.

It aims to empower people to build with their hands, using locally available materials like sandbags, earth, and barbed wire.

The organization only promotes materials that meet modern-day beauty, safety, comfort, and energy efficiency standards.

Besides being a learning institution, Cal-Earth develops sustainable earthen buildings built with earthbags.

What’s more, the organization manufactures and sells SuperAdobe Bags for earthbag construction. They sell these bags by the roll to make building easier and faster.

Why They Are Unique

  • Quality earthbags: The SuperAdobe Bags manufactured by this organization are of superior quality. They are also sustainable since they are made from renewable materials.
  • Quality sustainable building education: Cal-Earth offers highly informative courses on sustainable earthbag building. Their courses range from basic to advanced levels, helping builders build with confidence.
  • Eco-friendly materials: The organization only uses eco-friendly materials for their SuperAdobe Bags. They source all the materials locally and use renewable sources for production.
  • Easy installation: These bags are easy to install since they come with their stitching and barbed wire.
  • Structural integrity: Cal-Earth adheres to strict building codes and regulations so that every structure built is safe for human occupation. This is why they have been featured in numerous world media channels.

Final Thoughts

Unlike conventional home builders, earthbag home builders in the USA are rare. Therefore, finding the right one can take a lot of searching.

However, the abovementioned ones cover the entire U.S. and offer excellent services. So, you can consult any of them for your next earthbag project.

Getting a reliable supplier of sustainable building materials can be challenging. If you’re in this position, check out this article for the best places to buy sustainable building materials.

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