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Building a Cobb Solar Cooker for Solar Cookers International September 23, 2013

Filed under: Everything Under the Sun,Sustainability — explorergarden @ 6:02 am
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Cobb is an age-old building method using a mixture of mud (clay), sand, and straw as a binder (apparently it produces lactic acid as it ferments, which binds the minerals together). When I was in Africa as a college student, I lived for a few weeks with a Samburu family. One night it rained hard, and the grandmother in the family rushed out into the rain. I wondered what she was doing, and then discovered that she was taking advantage of the rain to repair her house, plastering the outside with a mud-dug, grass mixture. She was an expert in cobb building, like every Samburu woman.
Joe Kennedy is also an expert in cobb building. An architecture graduate of UC Berkeley with MA’s in architecture from SciArch — Southern California Institute of Architecture, and in Peace Studies from Notre Dame, Kennedy has built cobb structures all over the world. In this project, he is teaming with Patricia McCardle of Solar Cookers International, to try to create a durable solar cooker that can be built and used in refugee camps in Chad. McCardle is the editor of the Solar Cooker International journal, and a former member of the US diplomatic corps. She has brought solar cookers all over the world, and has observed the problems with a variety of the cookers in large camps: durability. Her idea and Kennedy’s expertise will hopefully solve that problem.

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