Ramming Earth: A Guest Blog from Rowland Keable

April 16, 2015

Last year I visited Limalimo Lodge to provide seven days’ training on ‘ramming earth’ to the community employed on the building site. I’ve stayed in touch ever since and receive regular updates on the build. So, it was a pleasure to be asked to take the reins of the blog this week, allowing me to be part of the Limalimo team once again!

As Director of Rammed Earth Consulting you could say I know a thing or two about rammed earth! I always love learning how it’s being used and which projects around the world are doing their bit for sustainable development, utilising this fantastic material to construct buildings.

Ramming earth has been a method of construction for centuries – simply put, it involves ramming an earth mix into a wooden frame. As soon as it is full you remove the frame and have a strong, durable and safe building.


Because earth is an abundant and cheap resource, rammed earth buildings are often very economical, as well as sustainable. Somewhere like the Simien Mountains, this is a ‘no-brainer’ building technique – the importance of sustainable development in a UNESCO listed National Park cannot be under-estimated.

Sustainability in this case is about both the cost and energy to build, but also the energy the building needs in use. With thermally massive walls the buildings absorb heat of the sun, then let it out during the night, keeping the buildings at an even temperature day and night.


The lodges will be naturally beautiful and each unique in their finish - something which I think adds a wonderful character to a building – and will fit seamlessly into their surroundings, emulating the natural World Heritage Site in which they’re fortunate enough to be positioned.



It’s incredibly exciting that rammed earth is making such a splash in Ethiopia! This isn’t our first dabble on the continent though…

Rammed Earth Consulting has been very vocal about developing a series of standards on the building technique, ensuring buildings maintain safe and high standards. This was first published in Zimbabwe in 2001 and by 2012, the Southern African Development Community had approved the harmonisation of standards across the 15 country bloc.

Now I’m working on getting the standard accepted across the whole of Africa through the African Regional Standards Organisation. When I was in Addis I met with the Ethiopian Standards person on the all Africa committee so perhaps it won’t be long before Ethiopia starts the trend for rammed earth buildings in the Horn of Africa…and a similar set of standards to follow!

Wishing everyone at Limalimo the very best of luck with the building…keep shouting loud about rammed earth and I can’t wait to come back and visit!

Guest Blog from: Rowland Keable




Other posts

March 09, 2017

Building conservation into the bottom line
June 20, 2016

Welcoming Village Ways to the Simien Mountains
April 08, 2016

Sustainable Tourism – an opponent for climate change?
February 29, 2016

Starting the Year with Rachael’s Review
January 21, 2016

Happy Christmas from the Limalimo Team
December 24, 2015

Training in the Mountains
November 26, 2015

Our Kit List for the Simien Mountains
October 30, 2015

Interviewing Julia Bleasdale
September 18, 2015

Assessing the impact of Limalimo Lodge
August 18, 2015

Simien Mountains in the Clouds
July 17, 2015

Trekking highlights in the Simien Mountains National Park
June 22, 2015

Working with Artisans at Limalimo Lodge
May 05, 2015

Ramming Earth: A Guest Blog from Rowland Keable
April 16, 2015

Celebrating our Women
March 30, 2015

Rocket stove!
March 23, 2015

One for the Food Lovers
February 24, 2015

Thanks Tyler!
February 22, 2015

Send a postcard
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December 02, 2014

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November 07, 2014

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