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Re: [SB-r-us] Outside the Box

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  • Andrew Webb
    Hi H.W., I agree that stacking bales is not necessarily the only or best way to use straw. It has been to date because the rectangular bale of fairly standard
    Message 1 of 89 , Jun 1, 2006
      Hi H.W.,

      I agree that stacking bales is not necessarily the only or best way to
      use straw. It has been to date because the rectangular bale of fairly
      standard size has been readily available; that size is determined by
      agricultural / mechanical conveniences more than what is necessarily
      best for building. It happens to be a good size for building too but it
      may not be the optimum.

      Anyway, I find it odd that your 'thinking outside the box' to achieve
      'energy efficiency' requires the use of cement and possibly sheet metal;
      two very energy-intensive and polluting materials to produce. I've just
      recently come across a local company that produces "Ecoclad" which is a
      SIP made of fibre-cement board and polyurethane foam. That's a very
      bizarre idea of 'eco'. Similarly, your idea, which comes from some
      commendable intentions, misses or glosses over the fundamental energy
      inputs required to achieve the end result of an energy-efficient
      building. Earth, straw, stone, bamboo, some timbers, hemp, flax and
      other natural fibres and oils give you the raw materials to produce
      almost any component of a building; all are low-energy and renewable.
      That should be your starting point for a new innovation. Cement,
      resins, metals, most plastics and other energy-intensive materials
      should be seen as the compromises that they are. Granted, they are
      often necessary to some extent in contemporary building but that is to
      do with skills, market forces and the fact that we haven't developed
      suitable alternatives yet. Don't get me wrong, the cost of materials
      and methods is very important but cost is not only in dollar terms. In
      addition, there is no reason that a new renewable low-energy building
      system that you might derive is necessarily more expensive than one
      using cement and metal.

      I think it would be easy to see this as merely idealistic. On the
      contrary, it's a fantasy to think that we (of the computer-owning
      minority) can go on consuming and polluting while maintaining our all of
      our conveniences, habits and assumptions.

      If you are on your way to developing a new energy-efficient building
      system I hope that you really think outside the box and don't simply
      fold the box a different way.

      -AW


      Stone Tool wrote:
      > I keep wondering if there is a method by which loose / chopped straw
      > could be blown in between forms or pre-formed shells of
      > concrete/stucco/plaster.


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • RT
      ... Short answer: (1) Yes. Gravity and mass alone are insufficient. (2) Impaling the bales on a bed of nails is the least effective means of accomplishing the
      Message 89 of 89 , Jun 17, 2006
        --- In SB-r-us@yahoogroups.com, Pennbo <pennbo@...> wrote:
        >
        > Is anyone really worried about the bales sliding around?

        > TO impale or NOT to impale...


        Short answer:

        (1) Yes. Gravity and mass alone are insufficient.

        (2) Impaling the bales on a bed of nails is the least
        effective means of accomplishing the task,
        an approach to the task which is about as ineffective as
        driving vampire stakes into the hearts of the bales to provide
        lateral stability to the wall.

        More later when (and if) I get back from town alive.
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