Old Building Technology Can Help Combat Climate Change

Climate change and major deforestation has transformed the already-dry Sahel region of Sub-Saharan Africa into a desert where building materials are scarce and the people are extremely poor. Most cannot afford the imported sheet metal to make roofs and walls for their houses, and the material itself is ill suited for the extreme changes in temperature the region experiences.

Source: La Voute Nubienne

Thankfully a solution has been found, though it isn’t a new one. NGO La Voute Nubienne (Nubian Vault) has began using a technique of making bricks from mud and earth that was perfected nearly 3,000 years ago. An entire home can be built in half a month, and the bricks can be used for other structures as well. The company has built over 20,000 homes so far, across five countries in West Africa, and they aren’t showing any signs of slowing.

Source: La Voute Nubienne

The Nubian homes are in such high demand not only because of their affordability, but also because they repel the warmth of the blistering sun in the daytime, and trap it at night – a valuable asset for a dwelling in an African desert. Another benefit of using the NGO is their willingness to allow homeowners to work with them, as well as training masons to be autonomous. Spreading the knowledge of how to create these bricks and homes means more Africans can have sustainable, insulated homes faster, and that’s what the company is all about.

Source: La Voute Nubienne

Environmentalists are also on board. Because the process involves no wood or straw, it has the potential to dramatically curb deforestation in the region. The bricks are build on site, which means that with almost no transportation cost, they also cut back on CO2 during construction! La Voute Nubienne has big plans for expansion, and so far there seems to be no downside for Africa!