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Building

Rammed Earth

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Passive Solar

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Rammed Earth

One of the biggest elements of the project are the proposed buildings. We have plans to build farm buildings, a retail space, a guest lodge and hostel space. All of this needs to be carried out in a way that will not diminish the surroundings and in a way that can be replicated by members of the community. This also means that we need to be sensitive to budget constraints and use as much of the natural resource as possible.  At present many of the houses are built in a traditional way - with sticks providing the structure and a mixture of mud, water, cow dung and sometimes animal blood smeared over the top to create the plaster. This, while effective and relatively quick does not last very long and can be susceptible to the elements.

We are proposing to use the rammed earth building methodology for all of the structures. Rammed Earth Architecture is a technique for constructing foundations, floors, and walls using natural raw materials such as earth, chalk, lime, or gravel. It has been used all over the world for hundreds of years and the homes and buildings truly do stand the test of time. In addition to its strength and adaptability, it is a carbon neutral way to build and can be exceptionally beautiful. It reflects and blends effortlessly into its surroundings so becomes part of the landscape it was formed from. The resources to start rammed earth building are readily available in the clay and sand and once the forms have been constructed they can be used over and over again.

Passive Solar

Passive solar is a natural way to moderate the temperature of a building using the sun to heat and the prevailing winds to cool. By using the knowledge of the suns position at different times of the year you can heat and cool a building without mechanical intervention and for free - a useful resource in a village without electricity!

Here in the Highveld, the winters, whilst dry and sunny can be very cold, especially in the early morning and late afternoon. By harnessing the power of the sun and converting it into heat in the winter you have a resource that will greatly benefit occupants.

The positioning of the buildings in a north facing direction capitalises on the heat gain from the sun in the winter. Overhangs are in place in order to shade the windows from the fiercely hot sun in summer keeping the inside cool. Doors and windows are also placed strategically to the prevailing wind direction to create air flow.

Odoo • Text and Image

Heating

As part of our building projects we need to be mindful of the winter months. During those months the wood-burning stoves in homes contribute to a startling amount of deaths that are attributed to Carbon Monoxide poisoning as a result of the unsafe fires burning in homes. Added to that the air pollution that leaves the informal settlements shrouded in thick choking smoke, the illnesses among the population - in particular in children, this pollution creates, as well as the additional resources required to fuel these stoves.

It again leaves the poorest people in a situation where they must walk the tightrope line between risk or benefit to life and health.

 
 
An example of a batchbox stove taken from oneplanetthriving.com

Sustainable heating solutions

Wealth for the People have been looking into a solution and believe that the new advances in rocket stoves coupled with the rammed earth technology that we are using for the buildings can provide a beneficial and cost-effective solution.

These heaters are light on resources to build, have a great heat output, burn so hot the smoke is minimal, is a closed unit so no carbon monoxide escapes into the room, don't need a lot of wood to keep them going and are relatively clean so very little cleanup and preparation is required.

They can also be used to heat water and food as well as heating the home resulting in a great all-round solution that can be customized to suit the building it is in.

It is our intention to become experts at building these stoves and to be able to sell the products & expertise as another way of ensuring our community members are employed.

Sustainable Waste Management

To complete the structure of the homes we are also keen to address the waste management situation. Currently, all homes in the village have outside toilets that are connected to a long drop or pit latrine.  This is effective and needs very little resource to set up but can be smelly, and does not benefit the environment. It can also pose a safety hazard for children. 

In addition, any household waste is burned or thrown into a hole which again causes air pollution or areas that are smelly and pose a threat to the health and safety of the community.

We believe that the solution lies in worms! It has been proven that a particular type of worm can not only process faeces and rubbish but they produce a "tea" which is an excellent fertiliser and can be used on the farm land or sold.

We are exploring effective ways to use the worms in homes and harvest the tea, while educating the community on recycling & litter. We will also be seeking ways to dispose of plastics and metal in an environmentally sound manner.

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