Research: CobBauge

This material has been developed through a European Interreg Funded project entitled “CobBauge”. The CobBauge project is a European Interreg Funded project, which comprises of a collaboration between UK (University of Plymouth, EBUKI, Hudson Architects) and French (ESITC, PnrMCB & UniCaen) professional and academic partners. The project is led by University of Plymouth. The objective has been to develop an optimised form of cob construction, called CobBauge.

Despite not seeming to perform as greatly in comparison with other standards for U-values, such as PassivHaus (0.15W/m2K), CobBauge has excellent hygrothermal properties and with high thermal mass, can store heat for release over a prolonged time. Furthermore, this material has a very low embodied energy compared with more traditional man made (and even some natural based) materials, with the idea that the ground on which the building stands could be used for the main construction.  

The CobBauge research project culminated in the construction of a full scale prototype building. Fox Eco Architects were commissioned as project architects  on this building at the University of Plymouth. 

Dr Matthew Fox is a research fellow on the CobBauge project and has been responsible for scientific monitoring and analysis, academic paper writing and architectural detail design amongst other activities. 

Further information on the CobBauge project can be found at the University of Plymouth.

The rational for the CobBauge research and material has been driven by an aspiration to bring a traditional vernacular material, Cob, back into use by present day contractors. The current limitation to traditional Cob is the building regulations (UK Part L) limiting the U-value to 0.3W/m2K. In addressing this issue, the CobBauge team have developed a new material that builds on the principles of traditional cob yet introduces a lower density thermal cob layer in a composite cob construction called CobBauge. This material has been laboratory measured to exceed the current UK thermal building regulations, with U-values of around 0.28W/m2K for a 600mm thick wall (300mm low density / thermal cob, and 300mm of traditional / structural cob).

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