Building with earth

In France, distribution and industry are joining forces for a project of the future: building with excavated earth. An age-old material that is proving to be an ideal resource for modern construction.

Construire en Terre

Saint-Gobain is bringing excavated earth back into fashion with the launch in France of its “Construire en Terre” (Build in Earth) program. This ancestral material is ideal for constructing buildings capable of offering greater comfort in both summer and winter, as well as greater humidity regulation and sound insulation. These performances are derived from traditional construction methods, which are highly sought after to adapt modern construction to global warming.

This solution is a key element in meeting the new environmental requirements for construction in France (RE2020). It also helps to decarbonize the building sector by avoiding the use of concrete, which is highly carbon-intensive (use of cement) and rich in raw materials (sand), the supply of which is dwindling.

By combining its research forces, its industrial capacities and its POINT.P materials distribution network, Saint-Gobain has developed several processes for using excavated earth in construction.

POINT.P guarantees the proper manufacture of the earth-binder mix, in its factories or by the trade professional directly on site, based on five fundamental components whose dosage is linked to the applications: earth, a low-carbon binder, plant material, water and, depending on the needs of the proposed solutions, recycled aggregate. And that's it!

For multi-housing unit and tertiary building sites, POINT.P offers complete solutions from design to delivery of the construction system and plays a real role of assistant project manager: structural work, finishing work, site logistics. This primarily concerns non-structural earth concrete placed in a wood or concrete frame.

For single-family or small multi-unit housing sites, POINT.P also offers a complete solution from design to delivery of the building. This is based on a mixture of earth, biosourced plant fiber and a patented low-carbon hydraulic binder, produced on site and projected directly into a wood-frame building.

Other solutions are being developed for the dry and off-site sector – earthen slabs and tiles – as well as earthen blocks for traditional masons.

The company is also committed to launching training programs for trade professionals and to accompanying them on their first earth construction site. For each project, the distributor will transport the earth from one of sixty qualified sites, ensuring product availability within a 100 km radius of the construction site.

This solution complements the know-how of trade professionals, is designed for the traditional building industry and perfectly serves Saint-Gobain's vision of being the worldwide leader in light and sustainable construction.

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