Gus Willard Van Beek (1920-2012, Dept. Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution) on the thermal properties of traditional earth and mud homes, citing a 1970s experiment in Iran. Stellar result from the "free dug at site material".
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A preliminary understanding of how soil and earth works as a building material can be easily tested digging a hole and measuring the temperature therein. (Photo of the authors at a site in Egypt.)
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In the late 1950s James Marston Fitch and Daniel P. Branch measured temperatures in traditional adobe homes in the U.S. Southwest. You really do not need air conditioning in a house built like this: the interior temperature is stable. (Example of a traditional home to the right.)

3:18 PM · Oct 9, 2021

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Back to the Van Beeks, who visited the traditional beehive homes in Fah (a village near Aleppo), in Syria, where they found the new concrete homes of the villagers very cold even in April and apparently unusable in the summer heat.
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Replying to @wrathofgnon
I am all for passive heating and cooling of buildings but per this example I think many Americans would struggle with a 85° temperature indoors.
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Different people have different needs of course, but if you can't stand 85F and have to use AC, remember that there is a huge difference in energy consumption between going from 85 to 70 and going from 115 to 70.
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Replying to @wrathofgnon
My question with this sort of thing is: how does it account for climate change? Would these adobe homes stand up to modern heat in the American southwest without AC? I’m not disbelieving, to be clear, just wondering if that’s been researched recently.
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You will have to adopt the house to fit in changing climates of course. But humans have built comfortable adobe homes in harsher climates than the U.S. Southwest.
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Replying to @wrathofgnon
Is it possible to have a completely passive house in temperate subcontinental climate (25 degrees difference between summer and winter) with cob or other building materials? Have you got any suggestion on good sites where I could find information about it?
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It is possible of course, but I don't know how comfortable it would be and what your requirements are in terms of heating etc. Your best bet might be to historic buildings that are still unheated or uncooled and see for yourself how they work.
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Replying to @wrathofgnon
Nothing the roof terrace gardens and west wall pergola/trellises covered with [deciduous] grapes wouldn't fix.
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Replying to @wrathofgnon
Options and alternatives
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So install AC if you want. If the AC breaks or the power goes out you can still live there without risk of dying from heat stress, and under normal conditions you'll save a lot of energy since you don't have to cool if from a far higher temperature.
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