Development and Evaluation of Earth as a Sustainable Building Material for Energy Efficiency and Resilience.

Promotors: Mario Rinke, Bob Geldermans

The global construction industry contributes significantly to environmental degradation and carbon emissions. While the accessibility and affordability of concrete make it a prevalent choice in many countries, ecological crises emanating from its extensive use cannot be overlooked. There is a growing need to identify and promote sustainable building materials that can reduce the environmental impact of construction.

Earth, as a resource, exemplifies sustainability and also embodies economic efficiency and accessibility, making it a vital component of sustainable housing development, especially in regions with limited availability of other natural materials like wood.

This study presents Jordan as a case where concrete construction significantly impacts its carbon footprint, mainly due to energy and waste. Despite the historical significance of earthen materials, favored for the region's climate and the abundance of natural materials, modern practices rely on concrete and steel, overlooking the sustainable potential of such materials.

The argument posits that the limitation of earthen construction stems from unrecognized sustainability and cultural barriers, calling for further investigation and emphasizing the importance of this research.

The aim is to develop a framework for integrating rammed earth into current construction practices by analyzing and proposing updates to sustainability policies. A strategic shift towards environmentally friendly construction methods, applicable in various localities, is proposed.

Feynan Ecolodge (2005), a showcase of Jordan's advanced earthen architecture through local rammed earth techniques. This exemplary project, internationally awarded for sustainable development, highlights the potential and adaptability of sustainable construction practices in the region.

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