The world’s best sustainable builders and architects will descend on Albury for next week’s inaugural Earth-Building Association of Australia’s international conference.
Vice president and veteran builder Peter Hickson said earth-building techniques, including earth-ramming and mudbricking, were as old as civilisation but had seen a resurgence recently because of their sustainability and energy efficiency.
“There’s been interest in earth building in Australia since Indigenous people used earth to create structures and certainly a lot of early settlers then came and used earth-building traditions,” he said.
“There was a growing awareness of environmental concerns lead by people who want to be self-sufficient.
“Since then earth-building has moved into something desirable for people who want something different or something more comfortable.”
Mr Hickson said earth-built buildings were built with an area’s specific climate in mind.
The design maximises natural temperature changes, which are absorbed and stored in the house’s thermal mass, minimising the need for coolers or heaters.
He said when the building was demolished, materials able were able to be returned to nature without worrying about harmful chemicals.
“The biggest problem Australia faces at the moment is air-conditioning and black outs,” he said.
“It’s such a worry that the grid can’t keep up.
“In most climates earth-built houses do without air-conditioners.”
Mr Hickson said more than 100 people would attend the four-day conference, travelling from as far as Iran, Mongolia and Europe.
He said the university was chosen because of its award-winning earth-built buildings.
The conference is being hosted at Charles Sturt University’s Thurgoona campus, which has won awards for its earth-built buildings.
Mr Hickson said the industry would discuss creating a recognised Australian vocation and education training program to teach the next generation of earth-builders.
He said a similar program had recently been developed in Europe.
The November 2 to 4 event features rammed-earth workshops, advice from international experts, a closed symposium, an earthen tour of Border buildings and a summit.