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Evelyn Bishop 's Profile
Evelyn Bishop
Details
Joined:
13/09/2011
Last Updated:
13/10/2011
Location:
Bugaba, Chiriqui, Panama
Climate Zone:
Wet Tropical





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The Panya Project Paititi Institute for the Preservation of Ecology & Indigenous Culture Uvita Tropical Studies Institute (UTSI) Random Farm Finca Friucion - Permaculture Land Cooperative finca de los Perezosos "lazy man´s farm" Strawberry Fields Eco Lodge Punta Mona Education Center for Sustainable Living Fuente Verde Community Cultivators
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Angela Jammeh Asya Milazzo Claudette Fleming David Rivera Ospina Don Hansford francine chanover Luis Horacio Gaioto Mark Olsen Michael Roberts Paulo Bicudo rob durham Shahin Enayati Winston Ford
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Alana Bliss Andrew Ogden Brad Ward Claudette Fleming Cynthia Robinson Desiree Irie Wells Don Hansford Fabrizio Dose francine chanover Geoff Lawton henrik haller Hugo Cano Ian Macaulay Itai Hauben Joaquin  Gracian john douglas John Schinnerer Jona John Nzira Jorge Montezuma Juliano Riciardi Luis Horacio Gaioto Marc Van Hummelen Miles Johnson Neal Spackman Owen Hablutzel Paul Kean Rafaela Tavares Richard Osorio Richard G. Powell rob durham Ryan Anawaty

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Seeking Conversations with Experienced Earth Builders

Posted by Evelyn Bishop about 10 years ago

Let's talk about building with Adobe, CEB & Earthbag in the Wet Tropics.

Buenas Dias Amigos,

I would like to begin a conversation with experienced earth builders on the topic of building with earth in the wet tropics. My goal is to explore the pro's and con's of building with earth in a tropical environment and to determine which approach would be most appropriate for Central America. I invite you to the conversation and will happily share the results of this research with the greater community.  — with gratitude, Evelyn

Comments (8)

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Neal Spackman
Neal Spackman : Hey Evelyn,

I haven't done wet tropics, but the perennial issue is humidity and passive cooling. I'm in the dry tropics (Saudi Arabia) and we'll be doing both superadobe and CEB.

If you're teaching a native people hwo to build, there's nothing easier than earthbag. You can teach someone how to build an entire house, foundation to ceiling, in about two weeks, which is a much more doable learning curve than a post-and-beam construction that you'd generally get. Earthbags will take almost any kind of fill, are bulletproof, fireproof, have good sound-dampening qualities if your'e building next to a road or just want it quiet.

I know in Guatemala the general practice of the Quiche' folks is to do cobb or adobe, but they're probably at a higher elevation and colder climate than you are. Cobb is generally very time-consuming (as is earthbagging) but cobb moreso because you have to wait for a layer to dry out a bit before you can do another layer on top. On the other hand, cobb can generally be free, whereas earthbagging you need to buy the bags and barbed wire (or at least the HDPE mesh).

What is the traditional method of building out there?
Posted about 10 years ago

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Evelyn Bishop
Evelyn Bishop : Thanks for your thoughts Neal, Here in Panama the recent tradition is to build with concrete block. Almost all construction of recent years has been from concrete. However, I have seen some examples of old Adobe type construction in some areas. Most of it is in very bad condition, but it is still standing after decades without much care.

I was very inspired by the construction I found in Honduras, with much adobe, handmade fired brick, and tile roofs. The towns felt grounded and had a sense of cohesion not found in the concrete neighborhoods I see here. Add to that the cobblestone streets and I'd say Honduras has a strong tradition of earth based building.

I have found a house in my small town here in Panama made from CEB's and I'm trying to get a meeting with the owner/maker. He has a hand press outside his home, and I have seen the blocks he has made. I hear that the house is very cool inside (and this area is humid/hot) which I would put on the "pros" list.
Posted about 10 years ago

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francine chanover
francine chanover : hi Evelyn I found rammed earth very simple after the initial set up. it is time consuming as far as mixing the mud (we did it by trampling but you can use a cement mixer, the other important factors are the need to make sure your framework is well set and non movabl when pouring the mud in and that for high walls you have a means of climbing onto scaffolding. other factors are leaving formwork in place where doors and windows will be so you can remove them after mud has dried and replace with windows etc.
Posted about 10 years ago

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Evelyn Bishop
Evelyn Bishop : I've just returned from Costa Rica where I saw a lot of wooden based rustic construction. One thing that the Costa Ricans do very well is creating artistic structures from recycled wood. I'm not so interested in wood based construction here in Panama, but it is an option.
Posted about 10 years ago

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Don Hansford
Don Hansford : Hi all! I did a earthbag/superadobe course at Cal-Earth in mid 2010. Very interested in all forms of earth building - one of my aims is to set up a centre here in Australia, where various types of natural construction can be trialled, taught and even tested by building authorities. Evelyn, you mentioned that you heard the house is "very cool inside" - this is one of the unique properties of earth homes. Provided the walls are more than 30cm / 1 foot thick, the heat transfer from outside to inside never quite makes it through before the outside temp drops and draws the heat back to the outside again. Way better than insulation :)
Posted about 10 years ago

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Evelyn Bishop
Evelyn Bishop : Don, I'm excited about this advantage with building with earth. In July, it gets quite hot and humid here in Northwest Panama, and the concrete block house I am currently living in is uncomfortable. Also, I see evidence of mold coming through the paint and that's something I understand doesn't happen with breathable earth buildings. Wishing you the best of luck on your natural construction center. Pura Vida!
Posted about 10 years ago

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Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts : Evelyn, I would be interested in your findings. Especially about planning permission for such constructions in Panama (if needed)? I suspect such constructions can be used for a root store and eventually mushroom farming.
Posted over 9 years ago

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Daniel Owsiany
Daniel Owsiany : Hello Evelyn,

I am a U.S. transplant (from New Mexico) living in Chame, Panama. I came here seven years ago with the intention of forming and building an eco-village on a 30ha property I own in the mountains near Sora. An automobile accident and resultant physical limitations have derailed that plan, however I am knowledgeable in earthen building design and construction, and own a functional motorized hydraulic earth block press capable of producing 2,000 blocks per day.

I have recently become a member of a community of about 15 people who are planning to build a 20-25 household cohousing community located somewhere between Chorerra and Penoneme. We are currently searching for a location for the community. I am a CPD, but have little knowledge and equally little experience growing food in the tropics, and am hoping to find a very experienced person in Panama, who could assist in the planning, budgeting, and design process for a 3.25 ha organic mini-farm. Perhaps you can refer me to someone who really knows their (agricultural) stuff in Panama, and I could advise you, wirh specific concerns, regarding earth block construction?

BTW-I could show you several well done earth bag, earth block structures in the area if you were so interested

Regards, Daniel Owsiany Chame, Rep. of Panama Cel: 6533-6487

Posted over 8 years ago

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