CalEarth SuperAdobe

Nader Khalili and Cal-Earth Institute, engineered by P.J. Vittore

Developed by CalEarth, SuperAdobe is a building system made from moistened earth-filled sandbags arranged in layers or long coils to build walls.

Product description Brand name and product description

SuperAdobe is a rammed earth building system developed by CalEarth that uses long or short sandbags (filled with moistened earth) and arranges them in layers or long coils to build shelters or landscaping retaining walls. Strands of barbed wire are placed between each layer of sandbag to act as both mortar and reinforcement. The system is free to use for non-commercial construction and the bags are available for purchase.

Target region(s) Target region for distribution/implementation (listed by country if specified)

Global. According to CalEarth, SuperAdobe is most appropriate for use in arid and desert environments but can be built in cold or wet climates with additional design considerations.

Distributors/implementing organizations Organization(s) distributing/deploying this product directly to communities/individuals?"

CalEarth has participated in many relief initiatives and their system has been implemented by several organizations including Small Earth and the Heliotrope Foundation’s Konbit Shelter.

Market suggested retail price Price per unit or service price per usage/terms (USD). Subsidies noted.

SuperAdobe bags cost between 1,150 – 1,180 USD for a 1,000-yard roll depending on the width of the bag. Barbed wire and other required tools must be obtained separately. 250 and 500 yard rolls are also available.

Competitive landscape Similar products available on the market. May not be a comprehensive listing.

Primary competitors in the field include other earth bag manufacturers (provided by CalEarth) and different earthen construction systems, such as the compressed earth block from Dwell Earth.

Another source that promotes earthbag construction is, a resource of information provided by Kelly Hart and Dr. Owen Geiger. They share methods from multiple sources but do not sell bags.

SDG targeted United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) targeted with this product/application/service

Goal 1: No poverty

Goal 11: Sustainable cities and communities

Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production

Target user(s) Target user/consumer base (country, income segment)

Target implementers include untrained individuals because the construction requires no expensive equipment and is flexible and fast. According to the manufacturer, it is possible to build alone or as a group and for all members of a household to participate.

The @AutodeskFdn blogged about our how-to guide for communities writing proposals for development projects