D. Tate, A. Ertas, T. Maxwell, K. Park, W. Lawson
Designers of building systems of today and tomorrow must approach energy, environmental, and economic considerations in a holistic manner. Energy and resource consumption for building systems consist not only of energy use during the occupancy of the building, but also encompass the cradle-to-grave resource consumption including construction and dismantling of the building and the accompanying environmental impact due to procuring, manufacturing, and reuse or disposal of materials. The Texas Tech Mechanical Engineering Department and College of Architecture have been working with EarthCo Building Systems to develop a comprehensive building system to enable efficient and low-cost manufacture and placement of compressed earth blocks (CEBs). The main components of the system include a power plant and hydraulic pump, hydraulic cylinders, pressure plate assembly, extrusion chamber, shear mechanism, and controller that are used for extrusion of the blocks in a semi-continuous process. The other specialized equipment developed for use in large-scale CEB production are equipment for lifting and placing the blocks as well as equipment for transporting the extruder and soils. By scaling up the production and placement of CEB blocks, manual labor and production time can be minimized, and CEB technology, be made competitive with traditional building technologies.