We build with CEBs because we believe this type of construction offers so many benefits above and beyond other building materials. Our reasons for choosing CEBs include the following:
Natural Resource Conservation
Most of the building materials we use today come from sources and production practices that are unknown. Dimensional lumber, for example, is often harvested using ecologically unsound logging practices and then shipped 100’s if not 1000’s of miles to the building site. The infrastructure and amount of fossil fuels used to produce these materials is enormous. The environmental costs of damaged ecosystems, eroded landscapes, and loss habitat is equally enormous.
CEBs on the other hand, can be produced right on site or in the local area. Fossil fuel use is significantly decreased, and the impact of CEB production on the environment is visible. The resource used for CEBs is also one of our most abundant-dirt.
An earth block home combining thermal mass walls with insulation provides the ideal wall system that offers both thermal storage on the inside, and thermal resistance (R-value) towards the outside. Combined with passive solar a CEB home is inexpensive to heat and cool, and relies less upon environmentally and economically expensive fossil fuels.
Artistic and Creative Freedom
We have built arches, towers, curved hallways, and rounded corners, along with most standard architectural details. Plastered walls and/or exposed blocks and lintels highlight interior walls.
Many conventional building products along with siding, insulation, carpeting, paints, and finishes are made with toxic materials, and release dangerous fumes into our homes. This has resulted in polluted production facilities, hazardous waste, non-biodegradable waste in landfills, health risks to installers, and poor indoor air quality.
Earth blocks are made from the subsoil and not with potentially dangerous toxic chemicals.
Ease of Application
One does not have to be an experienced mason to build with CEBs. Homeowners, contractors, and builders can quickly be taught how to stack a wall and begin construction immediately. Because only a thin mortar/slurry joint is used between blocks, walls go up quickly and there is no need to wait for the mortar to set up after a few rows like with typical brick masonry.
Midwest Earth Builders is both a manufacturer of Compressed Earth Blocks (CEBs) and a builder of homes utilizing CEBs and other materials. Our home is in Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin, which is located in the southwestern part of the state. Here on our farm we have the facilities to make CEBs, however, we typically travel to the job location to make blocks right on site. Close to home we take on projects from foundation to finish. For projects that are several hours away we often only manufacture the blocks and provide consulting services. We are often contacted about projects in other parts of the country for which we provide consulting, help find another CEB builder and press machine, or even consider taking a trip with our machine.
Dan Johnson, is the owner and operator of Midwest Earth Builders LLC. His work with CEBs began with Earth Block Inc. of Pagosa Springs, CO beginning in 1997. Dan also gained valuable CEB experience working for Bio-Hab of Durango, CO in 1998 and 1999. Since then, Dan has been building homes with both CEBs and conventional materials in Colorado and the Midwest. In 2003 he moved to Wisconsin to buy a farm and continue construction work in the Midwest. Earth building and small-scale farming allows him to work towards building a more sustainable future for both ourselves and the future.
The mission of Midwest Earth Builders (MEB) is to create living environments that are ecologically sustainable, non-toxic, energy efficient, beautiful, and long lasting.