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Natural Building & Permaculture Design

Natural building

Natural building is an important element of the permaculture cycle.

Using natural materials in buildings reduces the need for manufactured materials, which contribute to pollution and carbon emissions in the atmosphere. It also significantly reduces building costs, if the materials are available close to the construction site.

The use of natural materials creates a pleasant environment within the building. Cob walls absorb heat slowly so the building remains cool throughout the duration of the day. The heat absorbed during the day is released slowly during the course of the evening. Hence cob provides passive insulation in a building.

Why Natural Building?

In Tanzania, natural materials have been used in constructing traditional homes: earth, wood and thatching. However, current trends show that these buildings are disappearing, with the affluent part of the community choosing to build modern buildings using manufactured materials. We believe it is important to preserve the traditional knowledge that has been passed down to us from past generations, and also to preserve the environment that is harmed through excessive consumption of manufactured materials.

Finally, natural building lends itself to creativity in construction of buildings. You need not stick to straight lines and sharp corners … instead, cob lends itself to building in round, organic shapes that are pleasing to the eye.

Other elements of permaculture design

Natural building is only one element of permaculture design. We encourage the inclusion of other systems that enable a dwelling to have a positive impact on the environment, and be self-sustaining: the use of rainwater solar energy re-using grey water and composting for farming are other areas we are able to provide advice and share our knowledge of options on available technologies.

Permaculture can be applied by everyone. Even if your home or office has not been constructed using natural materials there are ways to reduce your negative impact on the environment by adopting other sustainable systems.