I've been researching the use of cob in Vermont, but there seem to be conflicting opinions. I understand that placement in relation to sun and wind plays a huge role, but I'm looking for additional opinions and/or anyone with experience using cob in VT. If you've used cob in VT, did you do anything special for dealing with the cold?
One comment (in the article below) suggests using straw bale for one of the walls for the thermal qualities.
Today I came across the site below, seems like a good resource for people with questions about using cob in general. Several locations are duscussed such as Florida, Alaska, Oregaon, South Carolina, etc.
Hi Mark; Welcome to Permies!
My experience with cob has been all about Rocket Mass heaters. (you should have one in your new cob house)
I think that the big thing with cob building , is keeping the moisture away from the building.
They have been building with cob in Europe for hundreds of years.
With a proper roof and a mass heater I see no reason you can't have a cob house in Vermont!
After reading the article below, I really like this idea. BUT, what my wife and I really liked about cob is the hobbit home look. Straw bale houses look so square! I really do like the thermal qualities though.
Don't let labels get in the way too much, you are going to need wood-framing (Roof, door and window jam, maybe floor/internal walls/etc). You might go with a cement/metal/stone/earthbag stem wall. Don't be too afraid to mix and match, because in reality you will have to.
As you know, cob doesn't insulate very well, but can store heat like a champ, I second the RMH idea. Placement on the site is important. A lot of the old cottages in windy/snowy areas are partially built into hillsides and are low to the ground. The aerodynamics and shape of the house can be a huge advantage. If you're against modern materials like rigid foam-board etc, I would try some kind of a cord-wood cob hybrid. You know who has been living in your neck of the woods for 1000's of years? The humble beaver. Note the shape of their den and that it is an earth-composite structure. If it ain't broke don't fix it! I have always wondered why people have endlessly cut wood to burn instead of cutting it once and using it for insulation.