Indigenous Materials in Modern Buildings: for Low Energy Houses in West Africa
Burkina Faso is one of the poorest countries in the world. This landlocked country in the west has an extremely warm climate. Temperatures over 45°C are not uncommon and there is an almost constant need to keep the buildings cool to maintain a temperate indoor climate. Air-conditioning is an option to maintain the temperature but it overloads the power grid and only a few people can afford it.
This thesis examines, through laboratory experiments, the thermal and mechanical properties that can be obtained by vibrating clayey soil and mixing it with water, lime or cement and organic fiber (Bissap). The report also examines different building projects utilizing local materials, both of a traditional and more modern nature.
Energy required to produce building elements of soil is negligible compared to that of concrete and steel. Soil can be used in constructing houses but it is sensitive to water. The insulation is inadequate for a passive house so an extra layer of insulating material is required.
The experiments performed during this project were inconclusive so it is impossible, from the results in this paper, to say if vibration is a good method for forming a building material of soil. The high water content needed, is however a major problem, shrinkage was about 20% and cracks were hard to avoid. Further investigations into the subject is necessary.
Source: Uppsala University
Author: Persson, Staffan