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Roots of Health Builds the First Mud House in Palawan, Philippines
They leveled the ground, collecting its pure, red, clay mud in the process, mixed the mud with fine sand, then added rice hulls, straw, and water in a half-drum mixer. Marcus and Ami contributed wine and San Miguel beer bottles from their household to add support and filter natural light through the walls; recyclers contributed more bottles from the local landfills.
In Palawan, new homes are usually built of un-green concrete, then topped with corrugated iron roofs. These home interiors become saunas in the tropical heat. Paliza and Novela can look forward to living in cooler confines; mud doesn’t retain high temperatures, and the mud house’s double-layer cogon grass roof repels punishing sun rays and stormy weather. The home will also have conventional plumbing and electricity; Marcus had hoped for solar power, but the local cost of panel installation prevents that for now.
With their nonprofit budget, nonetheless, Roots of Health made the mud house a standing symbol of sustainable construction in Palawan. As a final touch, they even invested in natural lawnmowers; a family of free-ranging goats keeps the lawn short, and provides manure for composting and soil amendment.
Photos by Laurel Fantauzzo for Inhabitat
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