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Your Eco-Friendly Home Must Have a Sustainable Foundation

Looking to build a sustainable home?

Check out these eco-friendly foundation options, including rammed earth, helical piles, and ground screws, and see how they can support the weight of your dreams

The Foundation

When it comes to building a home, one of the most important factors to consider is the foundation.

The foundation is the base upon which the rest of the house is built, and it needs to be strong and durable in order to support the weight of the structure. In recent years, there has been a growing trend towards using sustainable and eco-friendly building materials and techniques, and this includes the type of foundation that is used.

 In this blog, we will take a look at some of the different permanent building foundation types that exist, including the more progressive ones like helical piles and ground screws, and explore their sustainable properties and benefits. 

Types of Foundations

One of the more traditional types of foundations is the concrete slab foundation.

This type of foundation is made by pouring a thick slab of concrete directly onto the ground. The slab is typically reinforced with steel bars to give it added strength and stability. Concrete slab foundations are often used in areas with stable soil, as they do not require deep excavation and can be relatively quick and easy to install.

However, they are not always the most sustainable option, as the production of concrete requires a significant amount of energy and generates a large amount of greenhouse gas emissions. Additionally, concrete slab foundations may not be suitable for areas with unstable soil or high water tables, as the slab may crack or shift over time.

A more sustainable alternative to the concrete slab foundation is the rammed earth foundation

Rammed earth foundations are made by compacting layers of soil, clay, and other natural materials using a hydraulic ram. The resulting foundation is strong and durable, and can be used in a variety of soil conditions.

Rammed earth foundations are highly sustainable, as they use locally-sourced materials and require minimal energy to produce. They are also highly insulated, which can help to reduce energy costs and improve the overall energy efficiency of the home.

However, rammed earth foundations can be more expensive and time-consuming to install than other types of foundations, and may not be suitable for all types of buildings.

Another sustainable foundation option is the helical pile foundation.

Helical piles are essentially large screws that are driven into the ground to provide support for the house. They are made of high-strength steel and are designed to be able to withstand significant loads and forces.

Helical piles are often used in areas with unstable soil or high water tables, as they can be easily installed and adjusted to provide a stable foundation. They are also relatively quick and easy to install, making them a popular choice for new construction. In addition to their practical benefits, helical piles are also highly sustainable, as they can be recycled and reused after their useful life has ended.

However, they can be more expensive to install than other types of foundations.

Ground screws are another type of foundation that is becoming more popular in recent years, particularly in the sustainable building industry. Like helical piles, ground screws are large screws that are driven into the ground to provide support for the house.

However, they are typically made of lighter-weight materials and are designed to be used in softer, more porous soils. Ground screws are often used in areas with high water tables, as they can be easily installed and adjusted to provide a stable foundation. They are also relatively quick and easy to install, making them a popular choice for new construction.

In addition to their practical benefits, ground screws are also highly sustainable, as they can be recycled and reused after their useful life has ended.

However, like helical piles, they can be more expensive to install than other types of foundations.

Conclusion

In conclusion, there are several different types of foundations that can be used for permanent buildings, each with their own unique benefits and drawbacks.

Concrete slab foundations are quick and easy to install, but may not be suitable for areas with unstable soil or high water tables. Crawl space foundations are more expensive to install, but provide added insulation and energy efficiency. Helical pile and ground screw foundations are gaining popularity due to their ability to be installed quickly and easily in areas with unstable soil or high water tables, but they can be more expensive to install.

Ultimately, the type of foundation that is best for a particular home will depend on a variety of factors, including the location, soil conditions, and budget of the homeowner.

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