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Monday, December 5, 2022

Turf houses: Iceland’s original ‘green’ buildings | BBC

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These cleverly constructed homes are sometimes referred to as “torfbaeir,” and helped people survive in one of Europe’s least pleasant environments.

 These houses had simple timber frames, and the walls and roofs were made of turf blocks—cut out of grass and soil—that were stacked over a foundation of rock and compacted together. Even the seasoned Norse found it challenging to settle Iceland in the ninth century CE because to the harsh climate, which featured subzero temperatures and heavy snowfall on even lower-lying ground for much of the year. Only 15% of the primarily rocky nation, mostly in the Northwestern Region, is still arable today. The predominantly rocky nation never produced the fertile soil other European nations did. About 30% of Iceland was covered in trees when Norse sailors first discovered the island, a low percentage compared to other parts of Scandinavia. The island’s basalt rocks were challenging to hew, making it difficult to obtain materials for building buildings with the island’s limited supply of timber.

Source: https://www.bbc.com/travel/article/20221013-turf-houses-icelands-original-green-buildings

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