US-Integrating Earthen Building Materials and Methods into Mainstream Construction Using Environmental Performance Assessment and Building Policy

Written by esba

Earthen building materials offer an environmentally sustainable alternative to conventional materials because they are locally available, minimally processed, and waste-free. However, they have not been comprehensively implemented because their technical data is highly variable, and they are not fully represented in building codes. To address these hurdles, this paper presents an environmental assessment and a policy repair review, including an environmental embodied impact analysis, and a discussion of the regulatory development required for earthen construction. The results of the environmental assessment show that earthen wall assemblies significantly reduce environmental impacts by 62-99% when compared with conventional assemblies such as timber frame and concrete blocks. Additionally, the policy discussion provides recommendations to overcoming materials variability and regulatory organizational collaboration. Overall, this paper highlights the importance of environmental and policy measures that could be used by policymakers and earthen building advocates in their endeavours to catalyse the representation of earthen building materials and methods in mainstream construction.


  1. Ben-Alon, L
  2. Loftness, V
  3. Harries, K A
  4. Cochran Hameen, E


About the author


The European Straw Building Association is an independent European association, devoid of any profit making motive. The object of the Association is to promote and develop the use of straw, as a sustainable way of building in all the senses of the term “sustainable”: renewable, ecological, healthy, energy and climate efficient, social and economic.
The Association is a federation composed of organisations and people particularly concerned with the use of straw in buildings.