Special Issue "Engineering Sustainable Building Materials: Advancing the Structural Performance of Earth-based Technologies"
A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 June 2010).
Interests: sustainable building technologies; green building materials; earth-based bricks; sustainable composite and hybrid materials; sustainability development in developing countries; intelligent information and knowledge-based systems; productivity improvement
Interests: construction waste management; environmental impacts of construction, construction and demolition (C&D) debris recycling, sustainable development and construction
Earth-based technologies for building systems include adobe, cob, straw and compressed earth bricks. Earth architecture and construction when properly executed results in buildings that are economical, energy-saving, environmentally-friendly and more sustainable. Earth-based technologies have been successfully being used for load bearing purposes in some tall structures. Examples include the 175 feet-high Al-Muhdhar Mosque in Tarim – Yemen. It is however not possible to replicate the technology used in such applications throughout the globe. The exaggerated thickness of earth walls which give such buildings thermal mass works only in the hot and dry climate; they would not be appropriate for hot and humid regions. With the latter, in addition to securing thermal comfort for the occupants, the earth-based elements must also resist the combined effect of moisture and temperature. In general, key areas of concern include lack of durability especially as far as resisting hygrothermal loads is concerned and low performance with respect to physical and mechanical properties. There are also significant variations in the performance of earth-based building elements depending on the source of the soil, manufacturing methods and climatic conditions. Such factors have limited the structural use of earth-based technologies around the globe. Although the use of such technologies constitutes a sustainable approach to erecting building, several issues will have to be thoroughly investigated before the number of people using earth-based technologies can reach a critical mass. This special issue will focus on identifying strategies that have been used successfully to address the existing concerns. Papers will address a wide spectrum of topics including but not restricted to 1) defining potential strategies for enhancing the physical and mechanical properties of earth-based technologies for building systems in different parts of the world; 2) Critiquing different experiences with the use of earth-based technologies and the structural challenges that limit their widespread adoption based on selected case studies of earth-based technologies; 3) Identifying strategies for enhancing the durability of earth-based technologies, and ; 4) Addressing quality control concerns in the production and construction processes.
Prof. Dr. Charles Kibert
Dr. Esther Obonyo
- earth-based technologies
- sustainable construction materials
- hygrothermal loads
- physical and mechanical properties