International Center for Sustainable Development (ICSD)

ICSD Gaithersburg:
22923 Wildcat Road Gaithersburg, Maryland 20882 U.S.A.

Phone: 1.301.428.1040 Fax: 1.301.916.8786

ICSD Baltimore:
111 S. Calvert Street,
Suite 2310
Baltimore, Maryland 21202 U.S.A.
Phone: 1.443.514.7122 | Fax: 1.443.451.8386


Earth Home

Earth HomeThe Earth Home system is a fully integrated self sufficient building system, using local materials to meet all the needs of the occupants for comfort, water, sanitary waste, electricity, hot water and cooking, without the need for central power, water or sewer. The Earth Home is fully integrated into the natural energy flows and organic processes of the local environment. Earth Home uses the sun to heat the home, heat water, cook food and to generate electricity. Clean rain water is collected and stored for drinking and bathing. Kitchen and toilet waste is composted to rich fertilizer for the family garden. The Earth Home is a very flexible building system that uses local natural resources to build homes, schools, clinics and other low rise buildings. In addition, the Earth Home system is very easy to build with unskilled labor and perfect for owner builders or volunteer housing projects. As a result, the Earth Home system produces buildings that are: affordable, comfortable, healthy, durable, hurricane and earthquake proof, fire proof, termite proof, energy efficient, self sufficient and environmentally sustainable.

The Earth Home is designed to meet the specific needs of the region and market and can be adapted to work in all climates and all markets, from low cost owner built homes to high end luxury homes and commercial and institutional buildings like schools.


In many parts of the world such as the Caribbean, electricity is generated by diesel generators and the cost is subject to the cost of oil. In these places, Earth Homes can be built for the poor and wealthy alike because they cost less to own on a monthly basis than conventional homes tied to the grid. The primary cost of home ownership is the mortgage cost and the utilities. Earth Homes have a slightly higher mortgage cost but have almost no utility cost. When compared to a typical home with a slightly lower mortgage cost and an ever increasing utility cost, Earth Homes are cheaper. In addition, the utilities in an Earth Home will be more reliable and not subject to outages during severe weather.

The Earth Home System consists of the following elements:

  • Compressed earth brick walls. The earth brick is manufactured on site or in a central location with local soil and a compressed earth brick machine provided by Earth Home. The bricks are as strong as concrete or fired bricks but are much more environmentally sustainable and lower cost. The heavy earth brick walls and passive solar building design keep the building comfortable year round with no mechanical system in many climates. Compressed earth bricks made with local soil cost less than conventional concrete block or brick construction and construction does not require skilled labor. Earth Home will provide the equipment for manufacturing the earth bricks, on site training and technical assistance.

  • Rain Water System: The rain water is collected off the roof and stored in a cistern for drinking water. The cistern is sized based on the annual rainfall of the region and the size of the home. Earth Home provides the complete rain water system.

  • Composting Toilet: The toilet system uses little to no water and turns the bathroom and kitchen waste into compost. The system is odor free, uses no chemicals and converts waste to useful fertilizer.

  • Grey Water System: The waste water from the sinks and shower is drained into a garden irrigation system for the family garden.

  • Solar Water Heater: Water is heated free by solar energy in a low cost solar water heating system on the roof. The system will provide all the hot water for a typical home in many climates.

  • Solar Electricity: Electricity for the Earth Home can be provided by solar PV panels. If grid power is not available, Earth Home will provide a PV Solar power system with batteries to power lights, a refrigerator and other household appliances. The system includes high efficiency appliances, lighting, and refrigerator. In areas with access to grid power, the PV system can be tied to the grid to sell power back to the grid. In many areas with diesel generated electricity, the PV solar power is cheaper than the grid power.

  • Solar Oven: A solar oven is built into the south side (in the northern hemisphere) of the home as part of the kitchen. The solar oven can bake bread, meat, make stews, and cook rice, beans and many other meals. The solar oven uses no fuel and can supplement the conventional stove on sunny days.

  • Environmental Responsive Building Design: Earth Home designs the buildings to be responsive to the local climate and culture. The homes are designed to be naturally warm in the winter with passive solar heating (in heating climates) and cool in the summer with out a mechanical system. All materials used in the building are natural and non toxic. Earth Home buildings are naturally comfortable and healthy.

  • Windows: In heating climates, high performance windows are provided. In cooling climates, locally manufactured windows are used.

  • Other Materials: Other materials such as, kitchen cabinets and miscellaneous materials are obtained locally.

Earth Home Communities

Earth Home will work with the local partners to develop whole Earth Home Communities that improve the quality of life for the people. The Earth Home Community includes:

  • Earth Home Community master plan for housing, business, agriculture, roads, infrastructure and community center.

  • Earth Home Community Center with Internet access for the community, Clinic, School land Multipurpose community space

  • Community Power System: If grid power is unavailable or unreliable, we can develop wind, solar or biomass renewable energy systems to meet the power needs of the community.

  • Business development opportunities: We can help set up local businesses to build Earth Homes, make compressed earth bricks, service companies, renewable power company and organic fertilizer companies and more.

Earth Home Business Development

Earth Home works with a local partner to set up the Earth Home building system. Earth Home provides the technology, training, technical assistance and marketing assistance to the local partner. The local partner manufacturers the earth brick and builds the buildings. Earth Home is open to other business arrangements. We are experts in environmental building technology and want to partner with local partners who want to build high quality environmentally responsible buildings and communities. Next Steps Model Earth Homes. Earth Home will work with the local partner to build several model homes that demonstrate the Earth Home technology. The model homes can be used as offices for the local partner. For more information please contact us.