Kerry Bingham’s off-grid earth bag home in Turkey only cost $3,761 to build.
Everybody’s talking about earth bag construction lately, including The National, which reported this weekend that a British woman has built an earthbag home a la Iranian architecture Nader Khalili. Using dirt from her own 6,500 square foot plot of land, the artist and writer filled dozens of polypropylene sacks that were then stacked to create a striking circular structure overlooking Turkey’s magical Olympos Valley. Despite disbelieving critics, Kerry Bingham’s home is durable and doesn’t melt when it rains.
Bingham told The National that building her own off-grid home was inspired by a desire to become more mindful of her consumption habits. “My goal,” she says, “is to change my lifestyle, to be aware of how I consume and how I can consume in a more responsible way.”
Not only has she built a house using locally-sourced and sustainable materials – including lime plaster that has yet to be applied to the outer wall, but she has slashed her carbon and water footprint in other meaningful ways as well.
Bingham is building a compost toilet (with a view) that requires absolutely no water to function, and any grey water that she does use for washing dishes and clothes will be recycled after it goes through an on-site constructed wetland that relies on nature to filter out harmful impurities.
She also intends to build a water pump that relies solely on power from the sun to function.
Unlike the splashy steel and glass monstrosities popping up all over the Middle East, this project genuinely deserves the stamp “sustainable.” And the building’s flat roof and additional doorway also leaves room for expansion .
The neighbor – a pomegranate farmer named Dudu – was not convinced of the merits of earth bag construction, but the resiliency of Bingham’s pride and joy has had a transformative effect on all of its critics.
The National reports, “Dudu is now a believer, arriving almost daily with gifts of fresh vegetables and pomegranates. Other villagers, who in the beginning warned that the house would never stand up to the torrential winter rains, also arrive regularly, trying to push down the walls. They fail. And the rains have come, but the house is still standing strong.”
While at first many people will balk at living as close to the earth as Bingham has committed to doing, in time, when water and electricity prices grow prohibitively high at the same time that she pays virtually nothing for the same, they may well change their mind!
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