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Cob vs. Cement PDF Print E-mail


  • Made of clay, sand and fiber – materials easily found and gathered around the world with no C02 emissions associated with its production and use. Safe to use, non-toxic, fire and insect proof.

  • Any one can do it, young and old, no special skills required.

  • A low cost building material that has been the foundation of communities around the world for millennia – and for over 30% of the world’s population today. Earth, in some form, is the most common building material today. Great for thermal mass and insulation for heat or cold.

  • No harm to the environment, no landfill waste, and can be reused forever.


  • A proprietary mixture of calcium oxide, silicone, aluminum and iron oxide, which is mined and quarried from the earth, crushed into powder, pyro-processed in a kiln at 15000C (27320F), using fossil fuels, or alternatives like shredded tires or waste oils, but mostly coal. It is then mixed with gypsum to create Portland cement used throughout the building industry as a primary foundation material.1

  • Cement production is a key source of CO2 emissions, due in part to the significant reliance on coal and petroleum coke to fuel the kilns for clinker production. Globally, CO2 emissions from cement production were estimated at 829 MMTCO2 in 2007, approximately 3.4% of global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion and cement production. In addition to combustion-related emissions, cement production also is a source of process-related emissions resulting from the release of CO2 during the calcination of limestone. 1

  • When no longer needed, it becomes landfill waste, or road base material.

  • Highly caustic to bare skin. Very brittle and prone to cracking and fracture.

  • Creates 11 MMT of CO2 per year in CA (of a total of 100 MMT)2


1 CO2 Emissions Profile of the U.S. Cement Industry - U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, http://www.epa.gov/ttnchie1/conference/ei13/ghg/hanle.pdf

2 LA Times Article - http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2009/02/google-earth-ma.html