Traditional cob houses are part of the country landscape in many parts of England and France. The traditional building method produces houses with a unique character – but they aren’t in line with modern energy efficiency standards.
French and British researchers under the leadership of Professor Steve Goodhew of the University of Plymouth, have developed a more energy-efficient form of cob that will use local materials, meet energy efficiency and structural standards, and be made using a more efficient, lower-cost process.
Project partners include the Ecole Superieure D’ingenieur des Travaux de la Construction de Caen (ESITC), Syndicat Mixte du Parc naturel régional des Marais du Cotentin et du Bessin (PnrMCB), Earth Building UK and Ireland (EBUKI) and the Université Caen-Normandie (UCn).
Successful Culmination of First Phase
During the first phase of the CobBauge project, 12 different soils and 6 different natural fiber varieties were combined to make 20 different formulations for evaluation. Two optimized mixtures – one for each of the two participating countries, was selected.
We had a very successful event in December to celebrate the end of Phase 1 of the CobBauge project. With a huge attendance of individuals from all areas of interest. The presentations from this event are now available from our website:https://t.co/dCm7dQSVS2@Channel_Manche #cob pic.twitter.com/Krmv7D2sab
— CobBauge Project (@CobBaugeProject) January 3, 2019
Then, innovative building methods were developed with the criterion for evaluation being a comparison between CobBauge and conventional building. The team aimed to keep costs and time needed in line with, or lower than those of a regular construction.
As the team approaches the March 2019 culmination of its first phase, it reports that it has developed the methods and materials that could be used to build hundreds of houses across England and France in the next ten years. The new way of building has been dubbed CobBauge – a combination of the English and French words for cob.
Thermally Efficient CobBauge Will Have Extra Environmental Benefits
To make cob more thermally efficient, researchers found that a dual-layered construction was better able to retain heat than traditional cob. It consists of a lightweight cob for insulation coated with a denser, stronger form that bonds the walls together. The University says that much of the work involved the analysis and measurement of different local soils’ and fibers’ thermal properties.