CIM Students Participate in Interlocking Earth Block Construction Project

Several students from the NJIT CIM program had an opportunity to travel to High Hill, Missouri to participate in the construction of an interlocking compressed earth block “CEB” home. The interlocking system of CEB compressed earth bricks allows for easy Lego-style stacking without the need for mortar. The plan was formulated by Naveed Syed, entrepreneur in sustainable technologies, who reached out to NJIT’s CIM program for assistance in his CEB research. With the help of CIM Patron, Sika Corporation, Syed was able to perform preliminary testing on his CEB system.

Syed also reached out to Renewing Roots Co., headed by David Cackowski. Renewing Roots specializes in sustainable techniques and methods to ensure the least impact on the environment while aiming to produce efficient and low-cost homes for veterans, homeless people, military families, and communities overseas. Both companies have provided an opportunity for Syed and students to be involved in their CEB research and development and also offered the team the opportunity to begin construction of the first Renewing Roots CEB home.

On Tuesday August 14th, Syed and students  traveled to the CEB manufacturing facility in St. Louis where they were briefed on the properties, advantages, disadvantages, and limitations of the material. The students had a chance to build a 160 square foot curing room with CEB. They participated in all the building stages including anchoring steel rebar reinforcement to the foundation, laying a mortar bed, and stacking the blocks. The students broke ground and began the layout of CEB at the actual site where the home will be erected. The students plan to use their experience  to brainstorm innovative ways for streamlining production and develop differing applications of compressed earth blocks for various countries and situations around the world.

What is CEB?   CEB differs from ordinary masonry block in the method it is manufactured and its ingredients. Typical masonry block is made from sand, cement, and water while CEB is made with sand, cement, water and the natural soil found in the vicinity of the construction site.

A major benefit of CEB is that it uses up to seventy-five percent less cement than traditional concrete blocks.  Cement is the most expensive and non-environmentally friendly ingredient in concrete. In addition, CEB earth blocks are compressed together in a manual or hydraulic machine and are able to be handled immediately, as opposed to ordinary concrete which is poured into a form requiring  at least one day to cure before being transported.

Photos of CEB wall system construction:

To learn more about CEB please visit:
To learn more about Renewing Roots initiatives visit:

The following personnel were involved in the CEB project:
David Cackowski: President, Renewing Roots
Jeff Schneider: VP, Renewing Roots
Naveed Syed, CEB System R&D Visionary
Zeghan Malik: Architect
Anlee Orama: CIM Program Specialist
CIM Students: Fabian DeLaHOz, Majile McCray, Gagan Singh, Tyler Hanson

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Follow us Facebook Twiter YouTube RSS