Call for Articles - TLS' Issue on Women in SB & NB
- This email was sent out a while back - and I have received some
great responses, but there are many women out there working in
strawbale and natural building who have not sent in their
updated article or new one. So I'm resending this information,
extending the deadline and planning to publish the issue for
distribution early in 2008. This is open to every woman who is
involved in strawbale and other types of natural building.
Here's the information:
The theme of The Last Straw journal's March 2008 issue is The
Women of Strawbale and Natural Building. In addition to
updating the articles about women involved in strawbale and
natural building in 1995 (TLS issue #10/Constructive Women),
we want to feature women who are currently involved now, and
updates on all the women who were featured in TLS#10.
Your involvement can be related to any aspect - workshop
instructor, teaching an online course or in the classroom,
helping with an association, architect, engineer, designer,
design/builder, owner/builder, contractor, subcontractor,
supplier, natural building materials store owner, plasterer, writer,
author, consultant, promoter, realtor, codes official, lender,
We want to feature women from around the world, so please
help us get the word out by passing this along to others!
Here's what I'm looking for:
1. Photograph - a head shot or a photo showing the person
doing a workshop, teaching a class, working on a project. 300
dpi jpg or tiff format 3x4
2. Brief bio of how you got involved, what you do (planning,
design, construction, plaster, cob, strawbale, light straw clay,
3. A brief note about projects (types of projects and materials),
involvement in associations, experience teaching or doing
workshops, any other contributions to their particular field of
expertise and work
This issue will take time to bring together, so the sooner you can
send information to us the better.
If you have questions or need more information, just ask.
Thanks. Look forward to hearing from you!
Joyce Coppinger, Managing Editor
The Last Straw journal
GPFS/TLS, PO Box 22706, Lincoln NE 68542-2706 USA
402.483.5135, fax 402.483.5161
- Hi everyone
Season greetings, this is the time of year to make plans and reflect on the
past. Some of you are aware of the set back that I went through last April
with the fire that destroyed my barn and equipment. Nevertheless, it has
been an exciting year that has brought many blessings and has strengthened
my desire for community; as well as my desire to continue with my passion of
natural building techniques.
Over the past few years, I have visited several strawbale homes during tours
put on by The Ontario Straw Bale Building Coalition (OSBBC). What struck me
in many of the homes was the imbalance of materials. For example, exterior
strawbale walls have a beautiful soft, organic, however, the interior
partition wall are often conventionally constructed with studs and drywall
that provide only a limited amount of thermal mass. The harmonic balance is
some what compromised by the drywall and studs.
For those living in Ontario, I would like to offer an alternative:
compressed earth block for interior walls and floors. I will be buying a
new compress earth block machine from AECT model 3000 (see website:
http://pages.sbcglobal.net/fwehman <http://pages.sbcglobal.net/fwehman/> / )
which is capable of producing 480 pre hour. The machine is able to make two
sizes of blocks 14x10x 4 and a 14x7x 4 inches, therefore, three wall
dimensions are possible: 7in 10in and 14in. The compressed earth can also
be used for the floors over radiant heating tubes replacing the concrete in
the slab. The 7inch and 14inch block can be laid in several different
patterns creating a natural earthen floor; however my experience with floors
is limited. This coming summer I will be demonstrating all of this in a
building near Cobourg, Ontario.
The compressed earth blocks can be stacked with little or no experience,
since there is no mortar used; only a thin slurry of clay that glue bond the
blocks together creating a monolithic wall. The raw material is only 30
percent clay, with sand and gravel making up the rest. No cement is added or
other stabilizers. Blocks are made on site; we would come to your building
location to make the blocks.
For anyone interested, I can give you greater detail about finishes and
other techniques. Email at: hjwiersma@... or call at 905-342-3666
Hope to see some of you at the OSBBC general membership meeting early 2008
[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
On Thursday 27 December 2007 01:31:17 pm hjwiersma@... wrote:
> Season greetings, this is the time of year to make plans and reflect on the
> For example,
> exterior strawbale walls have a beautiful soft, organic, however, the
> interior partition wall are often conventionally constructed with studs and
> drywall that provide only a limited amount of thermal mass. The harmonic
> balance is some what compromised by the drywall and studs.
This has puzzled me as well. In much of what I have seen on line, the focus is
on the exterior without the same level of engineering design or mass balance
for the interior. While interior designs are highly personal, I always
wondered why not more energy efficient interiors using sunlight and heat
sinks were not considered. In the old days, <cough>, much effort was put into
capturing solar energy through massive concrete structures covered in stone
typically, and assisted by appropriate orientation of the house, rooms and
windows to allow the heat sink to serve as primary or secondary energy source
pending on what region in the country you lived in.
I know very little about your equipment nor earth blocks vs rambed earth
walls, heat retention capabilities etc, but, me thinks this is a good idea
especially when you read the recovery costs on the manufacturers page. The
only immediate potential stumbling block that comes to mind is inspectors and
building code issues. This would need to be investigated thoroughly I would
think by the owner/builder.
This sounds like a very reasonable business plan/service however and I wish
you the best of luck.
> The compressed earth blocks can be stacked with little or no experience,
> since there is no mortar used; only a thin slurry of clay that glue bond
> the blocks together creating a monolithic wall. The raw material is only
> 30 percent clay, with sand and gravel making up the rest. No cement is
> added or other stabilizers. Blocks are made on site; we would come to your
> building location to make the blocks.
> For anyone interested, I can give you greater detail about finishes and
> other techniques. Email at: hjwiersma@... or call at 905-342-3666
Would it be possible to keep the discussion on line in part? Im interested in
the thermal properties of these blocks, and secondly since the blocks are
prepared from local materials how do you deal with or address local soil
variations. For example, where I live in downtown Ottawa, the soil is approx
3 inches top soil, then at least 4 feet of high sand content soil with very
little organic matter (cant grow shit in this stuff without supplements) and
then a bed of clay that goes down, who knows. Im next to the river so typical
As said, this looks very interesting and well worth investigating to determine
the materials potential.
Best of luck and season greetings
- I am a new member to this group looking to learn more info on straw bale
homes. Your group seems to be in Canada, but I live in Missouri at the
present. We are hoping to move and build a home.
My idea of a straw bale house is to use 3' x 8' bales of straw which are
available in this area cheaper in comparison to the small squares. I see
that these 700-800 lb bales would offer more stability, greater mass and
ease of stacking the house going up much quicker. I want a puncheon
floor over a basement/ root cellar. as yet I have not come to a decision
of the type of roof to have.
I am very sorry to learn that your house burned. I have heard that the
stucco coating the bale makes it fireproof . Is this not so? Can you
offer any do's or don'ts for those of us that have or want to have SBC
I definitely want to go as"natural " as possible with wind, solar or
hydro for power.
SW Missouri, USA