Earth Building UK is a registered charity involved in a wide range of activities to do with all aspects of earth building. We don’t know exactly how many earth buildings there are in the UK – many thousands certainly, and built using a wide range of techniques. The last 20 years has seen a growth in the new build sector in the UK, again using a wide range of techniques to produce a number of building types.
EBUK was set up seven years ago and received charity status in 2013. We have 5 Directors including our Chair. Directors are unpaid but still manage to fulfil a number of roles from organising conferences and events to fundraising. There are also 3 project officers who work on technical projects like the European ECVET Training Standards, and receive some pay for this, but by no means full time.
We now need new two new Directors to increase our capacity. Detailed knowledge of earth building is not necessary but enthusiasm certainly is. Fundraising and organisation skills are two areas we need help in. Our Directors currently come from building, professional and academic disciplines, and running a charity is new for all of us. We run a successful annual conference, and this year a four-day festival as well – and we’d like to run training and workshop sessions, to engage with the public more, and to engage more with the building industry.
There is much more to be done, in sensitising the building industry, the funding industry, the regulating industry. This includes writing and promoting standards, in training people to work on site, and to try and promote best practice in both old and new earth building.
Many of our existing earth buildings are more than 100 years old and are widely spread across the country. Despite having a typically high market value earth buildings are often not recognised for what they are. A town like Malton in Yorkshire, almost entirely earth built, is not marked as such on a map, and is not easy to spot without guidance. So there is much to be done to raise awareness.
Earth also has a big role to play in reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and emissions. Earth is not burnt like cement or bricks and is often locally sourced, reducing the massive transport burden of industrial products. Earth can be decorative or structural, can be new build or repair. It is a growing market for something as old as human habitation.
Please get in touch if you are interested. There is a lot going on in 2015 and we are starting to find our feet in a number of different areas. The one constant is our skype meeting – Directors and project officers discuss issues and plan ahead from this monthly meeting. It’s a vital aspect of the work which normally lasts between an hour and two hours. It’s an easy way for a prospective Director to understand what is going on and to participate without having to immediately commit.
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