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Earth: The Magic Building Material
Jim Hallock is director of earth block operations at The Villages of Loreto Bay

Jim Hallock is director of Earth Block Operations at The Villages of Loreto Bay

Photo © Jackie Craven
When his wife developed chemical sensitivities, builder Jim Hallock searched for ways to construct with non-toxic materials. The answer was under his feet: dirt.

"Earthen walls have always been the best," Hallock said during a press tour of the Baja, Mexico facility where he oversees the production of compressed earth blocks (CEBs) for construction at the Villages of Loreto Bay. Compressed earth blocks were chosen for the new resort community because they can be made economically from local materials. CEBs are also energy-efficient and durable. "Bugs don't eat them and they don't burn," Hallock said.

An added benefit: compressed earth blocks are entirely natural. Unlike modern adobe blocks, the CEBs don't use asphalt or other potentially toxic additives.

Hallock's Colorado-based company, Earth Block Inc, has developed an especially efficient and affordable process for earth block production. Hallock estimates that his plant in Loreto Bay has the capacity to produce 9,000 CEBs a day. 5,000 blocks are enough to build the exterior walls for a 1,500 square-foot home.

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