Earthen construction has been in use for thousands of years by many civilisations. Modern times has seen a resurgence for housing, greenhouses and shed or storage buildings. The benefits of using earthen construction include reduced heating, cooling and construction costs. Old tires can be recycled into earthen construction to add efficiency and strength to the structure.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Roof trusses
- Metal stripping
- Glass windows
- Solar panels
- Automobile batteries
- Solar power assembly
Locate a building area having a southern exposure. Using a south face will provide for both solar heat and lighting year-round. Clear the building area of debris. Level the building area.
Scrape off the top layer of soil where the foundation will be placed. Remove rocks, roots and other debris. Place the dirt nearby as a ready source for filling tires.
Measure and mark the footprint of the shed. This is the outline of the walls. Check the measurements individually three times to ensure proper layout. The tires and dirt will become a permanent structure once construction has begun.
Lay out a tire at the front end of one of the side walls. This is where you will begin construction.
Pack the inner walls tightly with dirt using the shovel. Fill in the remaining cavity with dirt and pack tightly with the tamper. Lay another tire next to the packed tire following the line you laid out. Pack this tire using the same methods as the previous tire. Repeat the process around three sides of the line to form the three walls of the shed. The south wall remains open until later.
Level each tire in the row. Make sure the tires touch. Pack dirt around the exterior sides of the tires. Tamp the dirt tightly into place between the tires. Keep the tires touching as you pack dirt around them.
Lay the first tire of the next layer so it straddles two tires beneath it. Use the same packing method for this tire as you did the previous tires. Lay the next tire in succession on the current level. Fill and pack the tire as you did previous tires. Fill and pack the exterior tire surfaces as you did with previous tires.
Build the wall to a height appropriate for you to stand up comfortably inside. Build a sill plate for each side of the shed. This is the bent metal piece that fits on top of the tires to hold them together. Make sure the sill plate is tight against the tires to form a seal between the roof and the walls.
Build the roof onto the shed. Most people use a conventional beam-style hip roof. Mount solar panels on the roof to help generate electricity and lighting for the shed. Connect the panels to a battery bank inside the shed.
Build the front wall using long glass windows and a door. This provides the passive heat for the shed and can provide much of the lighting.
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