Housing and Building Technology

Tlholego has experimented with many different building technologies over the years in partnership with global leaders in the natural building movement, most notable Joseph F. Kennedy from the USA. Generally, these have all incorporated the use of earth as a primary material. The most extensively developed technology, over 12 years, has been the Tlholego Building System (TBS) – a high-quality, low-cost sustainable housing system developed in partnership with Brian Woodward of Earthways, Australia. This technology has had wide acceptability, primarily because of its modern architectural design. TBS:

•    Provides a high quality, energy efficient building system that has a low carbon footprint during the construction phase and during the lifetime of the building.
•    Utilises locally available building materials, skills and labour, which significantly reduce the cost of the building.
•    Provides a durable energy efficient home and also involves the community in the design and construction of the dwelling and the extended cluster or village with the aim of empowering local communities and extending their skills base to create sustainable livelihoods.
•    Is flexible to allow for a variety of plan layouts that can be based on the particular needs of the owner/builder, and can be applied to both rural and urban contexts.
•    Combines the principles of sustainable building with natural waste treatment and the permaculture approach for designing food self-reliance to produce an appropriate housing solution.

Thanks again to the Climate Change Focal Area of the GEF’s Small Grants Programme (SGP) which helped fund development / testing / building in 2004/5. This Report (TBS Report) provides more information on the TBS.


Tlholego has the following documents and designs on the TBS available for a nominal fee:
•    Mudbrick notes
•    Tlholego Building System
•    Designs
•    Prototype 1
•    Prototype 2
•    Prototype 3
•    Tlholego Compost Toilet

Please contact stephne@rucore.org.za for more information.

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