What is papercrete? The ingredients are water, cement, clay, borax, and lots of shredded paper. This is a homemade way of making your own insulation. According to www.livinginpaper.com the R value for papercrete is 2 to 3 per inch. I would like to say that is really good compared to commercial products you can buy up town. The experiments we did last year did not work out. So we keep working with it until we get it right. I would like to say that we have succeeded with a few batches that we have made this spring. The photo above is what the papercrete looks like in a slush form. This application is to go around the cooling tubes for the EarthShip. We want insulation around them so they do not heat up. The purpose of the cooling tubes is to bring in cool outdoor air into the home. Since the tubes are buried in the dirt, they stay cool hence the air that goes through them will be cool as well. Depending on the application would determine how much cement and clay to add to the mix. Since the papercrete around the cooling tubes will be subject to the weather, until the roof is on, we added more cement to this mix so the weather would not bother it and for structural strength. Since the papercrete would have to hold a few more rows of tires filled with dirt we wanted something that would not only insulate be be strong as well.
After the papercrete is poured where we want it it is pressed into place with a stick. We tend to keep things simple.
This is the completed top view of the papercrete abound the cooling tube. Notice the excess water will drain. This is normal for papercrete. The photo below is the inside view of the EarthShip.
Another application that we have been successful at with papercrete is for
insulating the tires of our sunrooms. This is in the front of the home and will be packed with papercrete for insulation and then covered with rock for the finishing touches. We will do the same for the greenhouse.
This photo was taken after a really good rain. The bottom is still wet. The papercrete held up just fine. This is the first layer of using papercrete. We will keep layering it until it is completely filled in. We did add straw to this application. This will help the next layer to stick to it as well as keep the papercrete together better. If you have any questions please do ask. We will be working with this at out workshop at the end of may as well.
We are still experimenting with panels that will be used for the insulation in the ceiling. We are working at making the panels lighter to go up in the roof. At the moment they are a little to heavy.
Mary Severin writes about her families embarkment on a learning adventure to build an Upcycled Home using Earthship Principals. To find out what these Principals are click on the Earthship Principals link above.