Rammed Earth Homes – Simple ways that people used in the past to build their house that are being revived today

If folks just used their common snse and the materials around them the USA could have low energy consuming elegant housing:




  • Passive-solar design/build
  • Rammed earth wall construction for homes, businesses, gardens, art projects.
  • Passive-solar-design and rammed-earth-technical consultation with architects, engineers and owner-builders.
  • Rammit Yourself workshops. 

 Work continues on our home in 2008. If you would like to participate in a workshop format during this process, please, in an email to Julie@RammedEarthHomes.com 

state your first, second and third choices for workshop dates. We will try to compile workshops that accommodate dates within those choices.

If you would like to discuss possible dates, please call Julie at 520.896.3393. Reservations for chosen dates may be made by phone.


This site is so huge. It contains 12s of books. If you want to build a house, this site is a must visit.



Rammed Earth

Ramming earth to create walls is at least as old as the Great Wall of China. It is really quite similar to adobe and cob techniques, in that the soil is mostly clay and sand. The difference is that the material is compressed or tamped into place, usually with forms that create very flat vertical surfaces. Modern rammed earth typically utilizes heavy mechanized equipment to move and compress the material . The walls are normally at least a foot thick to give enough bulk to be stable and provide the thermal mass for comfort. It is best to apply insulating material to the outside of the building to keep the interior temperature constant. The interior surface can be finished in a variety of ways, from natural oil to more standard surfaces. Rammed earth houses tend to have a very solid, quiet feeling inside.


This site is also extremely helpful:


Do It Yourself

Rammed Earth

We are Bill & Stephen Betzen, a father and son team who started the planning process in 2004 to build a rammed earth home in Dallas, Texas by 2009.  We are on schedule. We want to share research we have done and make connections with similarly interested Do It Yourself (DIY) people also interested in rammed earth construction and benefits.

Our home is planned to be a 2400 sq ft, 2 story home with a covered balcony and porch surrounding the home. The ground floor earthen walls will be 2 ft thick with 18″ thick walls above the second floor. The goal is a home that will be as cool as possible in the hottest Dallas summer. With a home fully surrounded by both a shaded porch and a shaded balcony, as well as many trees, we hope the worst Dallas summer sun will never heat the thermal mass of the rammed earth walls. Combined with a ventilated, reflective metal roof over insulation, we hope that annual air-conditioning needs will be greatly reduced if not totally eliminated.

Our research shows rammed earth construction to be the most simple, environmentally responsible method for building the thermal shell of a home.  It will be a strong, quiet, healthy, termite-free, fire-resistant, comfortable home, one weighing 300+ tons and lasting many generations. It will save thousands of dollars annually in utility and maintenance costs along the way. 

Stephen’s mother and maternal Hungarian ancestors were born in, built, and lived in rammed earth homes for hundreds, if not thousands of years. They speak fondly of the quiet, year-around comfort of their rammed earth homes. We will simply add about 3-5% cement to the mixture, with a reflective, ventilated roof, and extra shade for the Dallas heat.

Continue to explore what is already online about rammed earth with www.google.com or with some of the following links, including the web ring at the bottom of the page linking with similar web pages.

  1. At http://www.rammedearthhomes.com/ you will find Quentin Branch’s pages describing the work he does in Arizona with rammed earth.

  2. You can find research done in 2004 in Del Rio Texas relating to the cooling qualities of rammed earth in an article linked online at http://www.toolbase.org/techinv/techResources.aspx?technologyID=144. It is the research by John J. Morony titled “Logged Data for Heat Wave, Del Rio, Texas, 31 May – 2 June 2004.”  It shows the superior ability of rammed earth to stay cool, even in direct sun in a heat wave, when compared to cement brick or adobe construction.  With our plans we need to know what happens when you keep these walls in the shade.

  3. How To Build a Rammed Earth House is a 1973 article published in Mother Earth, written by John O McMeekin about the home he had build 25 years earlier of rammed earth, and continued to live in at that time.  It appears he still lives there now but we are attempting to verify that at this time. His utility bills would be very interesting to compare with his neighbors in similar sized homes.

  4. Introduction to rammed earth is a web site from the UK and covers the basic facts about rammed earth.

  5. Steve Davis’ rammed earth house web pages with FAQ’s.

  6. Rogers Rammed Earth, a DIY home with photos.

  7. Green Home Building: Rammed Earth Questions and Answers by Leonard Jones, P.E.

  8. Contemporary Rammed Earth Homes Benefits

  9. Australia’s guide to environmentally sustainable homes – Passive Cooling – the basics!

  10. National Association of Home Builders Research Center web site

If you know of rammed earth building resources near Dallas please let us know.  We are searching


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