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Green Perspectives

Why Build with Sandbags?

 

To say it in one sentence:

Because with sandbags you can build better quality houses for less money by using absolutely ecological and healthy materials.

 

Ecological Reasons

 

In contrast to most other building materials there is no need to process the sand. No energy consumption for burning bricks or producing cement. The energy required for making the polypropylene bags can be neglected as the bags are very thin and make up the smallest amount of materials. The same is true for the metal used in the beams.

So the impact on environmental influence is tremendous: The carbon dioxide emission of one square meter of sandbag wall is 96% less than a conventional brick wall. And if you use a natural material like hemp for the bags instead of a geo-textile it can be reduced even more.

 

Washed, clean sand can be found locally almost everywhere around the world, in some regions even directly on the construction site. As there is no need for centralized processing you have always very little transportation of materials. The sand makes up 98% of the weight of the wall materials.

An earthen plaster is the ingredient to make the building completely green. The clay sticks perfectly to the open porous structure of the bags and no mesh is necessary to reinforce the  plaster. 

 

Research and development continued, and general building approval for the system was attained after SABS tests were carried out and structural engineers approved the rational design

And contrary to the original intention, upmarket housing, developments, commercial structures and “green buildings” make up more than 90% of structures built to date.


With the change of consciousness to more environmental concerns in the building sector all over the world, 2008 started to bring a big boom to the sandbag system accompanied by  broad media coverage in the major South African magazines as well as coverage on radio and TV.


The system is not dependent on any kind of industrial grid measurements. That means that any specific measurements that are wanted for wall thickness, size and height of the building or for wall openings, can easily be achieved. This is just one of many more advantages, that makes this new building technology perfectly suitable for building projects around the world.

 

Using sandbags to pile up a kind of wall is nothing new. For decades or even centuries people are aware of the good qualities of sandbags for flood protection, for sound insulation or in providing shelter against bullets.

 

The roots go back to the early 1970s in the military. Army barracks constructed of corrugated sheeting was exceptionally hot and noisy. Adding a layer of sandbags to sheet metal walls was an easy job but had a tremendous impact on the living comfort.

 

The Sandbag building system was born. It provided an absolute low cost building system. Now building at around half the usual price was possible.


Founded by Arn Silvester in 2003, several alternative building methods were studied and Sandbag Construction was found to tick all the right boxes as far as Green Building; low carbon footprint; thermal, acoustic & waterproofing qualities; job creation; skills transfer; construction time and most importantly, COSTS were concerned.

As a Mechanical Engineer from Natal and Project Management from UCT, along with a construction background with Murray & Roberts Construction from 1985, Arn Silvester was able to design and build hydraulic presses to streamline the manufacturing process of the Ecobeams.

On site tests resulted in the design of the latest sandbag sewn to create a box shape when filled, resulting in the use of less plaster and thereby further reducing costs.

Recently, Kwikblok and Kwikframe have been added to the range to offer solutions to to different requirements. All methods in our portfolio have SABS, NHBRC and  all methods fall with National Building Regulations.

We are the owners of Agrément Certificate #2011/398

We manufacture, sell, build, advise, train and act as consultants in the various methods so you can decide to what extent you wish to be involved in the build.

 Contact Arn@ecobeaminternational.co.za

+2782 553 5560