Eco-Beam Technologies


The Eco-Beam Sandbag System was developed in South Africa as an environmentally friendly, low-cost housing solution.  This technology uses a framework of wood and metal beams which serve as the framework for sandbags to be stacked inside as cost-efficient substitute for normal concrete.  Once the sandbags are in place, wiremesh and plaster can be used to cover the sandbags and the construction is then complete. This method provides a waterproof, fire-resistant structure with almost identical properties as normal construction. Eco-beam technologies was a partner in past WPI projects and assisted with the construction of the 2007 team’s laundry facility. (Here).

Ecobeam Sandbag Building

Benefits to this method include:

  • Ideal thermal properties (cool in summer, warm in winter)
  • Crack resistant walls and ceilings due to sand being used as primary wall structure rather than cement
  • Easy transport of materials to isolated areas like informal settlements
  • Dramatic decrease in cost and duration of construction
  • Unskilled laborers can do a majority of the construction (filling and placing sandbags into the frame) which provides employment opportunities to the community
  • Sound-absorbing properties which are ideal for thickly settled areas
  • No electricity or equipment needed for building