Sustainable organic building materials for housing: the case of post-disaster reconstruction in Indonesia
Authors: Ahmed, Iftekhar; O'Brien, David
Housing reconstruction in Aceh after the 2004 Tsunami typically followed the ubiquitous ‘bungalow’ model constructed from industrial products such as brick and concrete. The adoption of such materials extended the trend away from the use of organic building materials of traditional housing. On the other hand, after the 2006 Yogyakarta Earthquake, many aid agencies built transitional housing with bamboo—well-built, incorporating risk reduction elements and with comfortable indoor living conditions. Three years later these houses continue to be used, even by households provided with permanent housing. These examples suggests that in the housing sector in Indonesia adequate effort has not been invested in upgrading and improving building traditions using organic materials suitable for the climate, testified by traditional architecture using less energy in its production and use, using renewable building materials and thermally comfortable. A Life Cycle Assessment comparing a traditional Acehnese house with a sample of typical reconstruction houses reveals that its greenhouse gas emissions impact is significantly much less—in that sense representing a sustainable housing typology. Thus this paper advocates the promotion of organic building materials within a sustainable management policy framework by prioritising sustainability over issues of perceived convenience and economy.