10 Technologies Used in Green Construction


Rammed Earth Brick

Rammed earth is an ancient construction technique similar to adobe that uses the raw materials of the Earth to form sturdy buildings through a simple process. Rammed earth has been around for thousands of years -- portions of the Great Wall of China were constructed using the rammed-earth technique. Today, the process of forming a rammed-earth structure isn't so different than it was centuries ago. A moist mixture of earth and hard substances such as clay or gravel are combined with a stabilizing element like concrete and compressed to form dense, hard walls. After forming, rammed earth must cure for months -- or as long as two years -- in a humid climate to fully cure and completely harden [source: USC].

The density of rammed earth makes it an ideal material for regulating the temperature of a building. It will stay cool in the summer and warm in the winter, and constructing rammed earth produces fewer emissions than the typical building process [source: USC]. Modern rammed-earth equipment makes the compacting process a bit easier than it was thousands of years ago, but there are still tools out there specially designed to compress the walls by hand.

Rammed-earth construction isn't exactly the norm for the 21st century, but it still exists, and there are contractors out there who specialize in designing homes with the Earth's minerals. Rammed-earth construction does have to take special care to properly regulate water to prevent damage, which is much like our next green technology, a system designed to harness water runoff.