Appropriate Technology

Stabilised compressed earth blocks

Stabilised compressed earth blocks (SCEBs) are building blocks made by compacting earth mixed with a stabiliser such as cement or lime in a mould using a mechanical press.  The blocks can be moulded in various sizes and shapes.  Using this technology eliminates the use of the fuelwood required to fire conventional bricks.

SCEBs can be used in place of conventional bricks and are loadbearing up to 3 storeys.  Cost depends on soil availability, amount of cement or lime required, local labour costs and manufacturing equipment and efficiency.

In India there are various organisations that provide both training and equipment, amongst them Development Alternatives in Delhi and the Auroville Earth Institute in Tamil Nadu.  The latter also works extensively with stabilised rammed earth wall construction and barrel vaulted roofing using SCEBs.

The photos on this page illustrate building construction methods using stabilised compressed earth components. 

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