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[Cob] cob buildings in the tropics

Jill Hogan jill.hogan at
Sat Feb 2 13:54:48 CST 2008

HI David
I live in McGregor in a semi arid area of South Africa. Our winter temp min 0-4 to 18 deg Celsius, with winter rainfall. The mountains around us get snow even though we don't.
Our summer temp is 25 to 42-48 deg Celsius.
I have built my own cob house and in winter it is as cosy and warm as can be. I have a fireplace that roars - have plenty wood on the property and cook on a wood stove that is in the centre of the house.
In summer I open every thing I can all night and then close up for the day keeping the cool air in. People  come in and ask if I have an air conditioner. Summers are very dry though this summer we have had much rain.
I do also have an air conditioner system. On the south east summer prevailing wind side I have put pipes through the wall (with netting on the outside to keep out any unwanted visitors) low down. The summer prevailing wind is always cool. Hot air rises so have built in pipes on the north west side so the hot air rises and goes out the pipes high up. Have put a false chimney through the roof which draws the hot air upwards and out. In winter I put cloth in these pipes and the house stays warm.
Have planned the positioning of the house so in summer minimum sun enters the house and in winter the sun streams in the important windows and onto the verandas, which shade the house in summer. 
We have made use of filtered sunlight to shade windows, verandas etc

Happy playing as you find what works for you

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  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: David Bowtell 
  To: coblist at 
  Sent: Monday, February 11, 2008 4:39 AM
  Subject: [Cob] cob buildings in the tropics

  Hi everyone,


  I live in tropical North QLD in Australia. 


  I am wondering if any one has and ideas, suggestions , experience, or
  opinions about building in the tropical climates and or designs etc that
  would help with cooling rather than heating. 


  Would Cob work in this way or would the thermal mass actually retain the


  The temps we get are ( in degrees Celsius ) summer – min 25       max 39
  humidity 75% to 100% - very hot and muggy

                                                                   Winter –
  min 12        max 30    humidity 20 to 30 %  -  very dry and very pleasant!


  Summer is our ‘wet season’ as we get lots of tropical downfalls of rain …
  well sheets of it in fact!!!  But in winter it is our dry season and it gets
  incredibly dry.


  I was thinking about a two story house with huge verandas and huge eves to
  ensure a lot of shade. 


  I am also interested in being water wise so the possibility of a living roof
  is not such a practical idea as we have huge water shortages..



  Any other ideas would be very welcome.





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