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Issue 62

Issue #62 Released

By Issue 62, Straw Bale Construction, Uncategorized One Comment

TLS#62_coverThe first TLS issue in three years has made it to press.  We are excited to announce our return to regular production.  You can now find your copy in our store in either PDF or print format.

Issue #62 is the first full-color issue of The Last Straw.  It is also full of the kind of content you have come to expect.  Issue #63 is due out in April, which means we will be publishing issues at the end of each quarter.  If you have a project or details of your work that you want to share, make sure to send us you articles soon!  In order to keep up with our schedule we need to receive a steady flow of stories from the field.

In this Issue:

  • Natural Building in Korea
  • Choosing Natural Hydraulic Lime Plasters
  • Straw Bales and Building Science
  • Permitting your bale building
  • Fueillette House
  • IRC Approval
  • German Fire Test

You can find the print version here and the PDF version here.

We hope you consider a subscription in order to receive each issue uninterrupted and at a discount.

 

 

Book Review: Making Better Buildings

By Book Reviews, Issue 62 No Comments

Reviewed by Jeff Ruppert

Image-front-cover_coverbookpageMaking Better Buildings: A Comparative Guide to Sustainable Construction for Homeowners and Contractors by Chris Magwood will be released this Spring and promises to be one of the most valuable tools for the designer and builder who wants to understand how their choices of systems rank in terms of environmental impact, cost and acceptability.  No other compilation gives such an in-depth review of the most widely used natural building techniques.  Not only will you find the tried and true methods of straw bale and rammed earth construction, you will find alternatives you never knew existed.

Being a guide, this is not a how-to manual.  It does not have pictures showing how to build alternatives to concrete foundations, for example.  What this book does is ensures you are not missing something, and if you are you will easily find it and be able to compare it quickly to what you think is the best choice.  The information on each system is objective and easily referenced.  What is so impressive about this book is the list of systems it covers:

  • Foundations
  • Walls and Insulation
  • Floor and roof structure
  • Sheathing and cladding materials
  • Roof sheathing
  • Flooring
  • Surface finishing materials
  • Windows
  • Mechanical systems
  • Water systems
  • Wastewater systems
  • Heating and cooling systems
  • Electrical generation

As a designer of natural buildings I found the tables used for comparison very easy to glance through.  I was able to discern the most valuable information quickly once I became familiar with the format.  Comparing choices is easy and finding the characteristics that may keep one system or another from fitting into a project simple.  The format forces you to think about each system using the same set of parameters, such as code acceptance, embodied energy, waste generated, costs, durability, etc.

But let’s not mince words when talking about green building.  This book is clear – the current mainstream methods of making buildings sucks from an environmental point of view and no matter how certified they are, they just aren’t that green.  The systems reviewed in this book address the most fundamental issues facing our society and the construction trades.  Systems such as steel and concrete construction are not included due to the simple fact that both materials cause huge harm to our environment.  There is no need to waste paper (or bandwidth) on the higher end of impact and societal costs when you are focusing on real solutions.  If you are reading this book it means you are serious about considering real alternatives in this day and age of high impact buildings and “greenwashing.”

Chris Magwood continues to bring us fresh ideas and perspectives with this publication.  We recommend it not only to the professional designer and builder, but also to owners who are serious about making better choices on their next project.

Making Better Buildings will be available in March for $39.95 USD and CAD from New Society Publishers.  It is approximately 460 pages and will be available in both paperback and as an eBook.  

Paperback ISBN: 978-0-86571-706-0; eISBN: 978-1-55092-515-9

Disclaimer: Chris Magwood has appeared as guest editor in past issues and submits articles regularly to The Last Straw.

 

A Gentler Path to Building Permit Approvals

By Codes and Permits, Issue 62, Straw Bale Construction No Comments

By Andrew Morrison

codes1There has been so much talk over the years around the “straw bale building table” about building codes and how they get in the way of our ability to build with natural materials. I have heard people talk about how building officials have ruined their dreams time and again, and stories about building officials requiring so many “over the top” details in a home that building it became impossible.  You can imagine, therefore, that I tend to shock people when I tell them that I actually like building officials and that I prefer job sites that have an inspection process over those where no building officials visit the site. Let me explain.

If you have ever been to a job site where no building inspections take place and no plan review is required, you may have seen what I have seen: a house that is built below code with several omissions and/or mistakes which put the occupants at risk. For example, deciding to save a little money by not installing collar-ties between your rafters could lead to the roof’s collapse and your death or injury. That’s certainly not worth the money saved. Just because you are not required to build to code doesn’t mean you shouldn’t. A lot of thought has gone in to developing the building codes we use both here in the States and abroad. You may find that some are overkill and some are unnecessary based on the scope of your project; however, I strongly recommend that you adopt as many of the code provisions as you can in order to provide a safe home for you and your family.

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What’s in a Name?

By Codes and Permits, Issue 62 No Comments

codes1This is a sidebar as part of the Code approval article in upcoming Issue #61.

The International Code Council (ICC) and its series of International Codes, carry with their name the implication of global applicability, use, and acceptance.  The ICC was formed in 1994 as a non-profit entity to replace three regional organizations in the United States that historically developed a model building code for their respective region.  Since their first publication in 2000, the I-Codes have been used primarily in the United States.

However, the ICC develops its codes for broader application, and states it is “dedicated to developing model codes and standards used in the design, build and compliance process to construct safe, sustainable, affordable and resilient structures.”  In addition to the U.S. the ICC has offices in Latin American, and generally supports the use of its codes internationally.

Healthy Living, Healthy Building (Building an EcoNest)

By Bales, Design, Issue 62, Straw-Clay, Walls No Comments

By Elaine Brett

Finished WallsTwelve years ago I had never even heard of building with straw.  I lived in a four-bedroom colonial house in a subdivision in Maryland.  The conventional American Dream – good job, big house, nice cars, the monthly lawn service, the health club membership, 24/7 access to shopping …

Then on my 49th birthday came the American nightmare.  A wake up call from Mother Nature.  Sometimes she needs to smack you hard to get her attention.  My wake up was a cancer diagnosis that sent me spinning into a quest of asking questions and trying to understand “how could this happen to me?”

One path of my quest (probably driven by my background as a chemist) sent me questioning the chemicals in my environment: the food I was eating, the air I was breathing, the water I was drinking, the lifestyle I was living, the buildings in which I was residing and working.  The answers took me beyond the overt pollution of urban air and water to the hidden nooks of micro pollutants in synthetic materials, chemical food processes and endocrine disrupters in simple everyday products.

The quest also took me on another path.  I began looking for a place to live clean and chemical free, or at least as clean as is possible.  And that’s how I came to a small town in the North Fork Valley (www.northforkvalley.net) in Western Colorado.

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Straw House Patent (Feuillette House Follow-Up)

By Bales, Community, Design, Issue 62, Straw Bale Construction, Technical, Walls No Comments

As an update to this post about the Feuillette House in France, here is a patent in the United States for straw bale construction.  It was filed on June 6, 1921 and is a very interesting read for the bale construction history buffs out there. The author was Emile Feuillette himself and approved on June 6, 1921.

This is not the oldest patent on bale construction as we documented back in Issue #21 in the Winter of 1998.  That title goes to Josiah M. Leeds (of Indiana, not Nebraska) in 1880.  The article describes and contains illustrations of three subsequent straw bale building patents (1885, 1903, and 1905).  Issue 21 can be ordered on our CD of the first 40 Issues here.

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Red de Construcción con Paja

By Bales, Community, Issue 62, Straw Bale Construction No Comments

logoRCPBIENVENIDOS, we’re the Spanish-speaking straw bale network RCP (Red de Construcción con Paja), or Network of Building with Straw.

The RCP network of straw bale construction is a non profit organization with about 75 active members, but with a lot of fans. Our webpage has more than 7,000 visits a month.

RCP is now 8 years old, as it was born 2005 in Barcelona, Spain. Only couple years later our little magazine, in 2007, “BRIZNA” was printed for the first time where we document our straw bale building experiences twice a year.

The aim of RCP is to be open and to support other Spanish speaking countries to spread the word, especially if they do not have their own network. That’s why we don’t call ourselves the Spanish Straw Bale Network.

Book Review: Earth Render

By Issue 62, Plaster, Straw Bale Construction, Technical, Walls No Comments

Reviewed by Jeff Ruppert

Cover file  SmlEarth Render: The art of clay plaster, render and paints by James Henderson is a refreshing, easy approach to what can become an overwhelming process.  As anyone knows who has worked in the natural building trades, earthen materials are highly variable and therefore require a basic understanding of those variables.  James Henderson explains this process in a concise, easy-to-read format with plenty of illustrations.

What is nice about the approach of this book is that it is meant for the novice as well as the seasoned tradesman.  It can be followed by anyone and needs little introduction.  It focuses on how earthen materials are used to clad and finish walls, and that is it.  There are no lengthy chapters espousing the virtues of earthen construction.  Mr. Henderson assumes that you are reading his book to learn the finer points of his trade, and therefore an ethical discussion is not necessary.

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Traditional and Contemporary Natural Building in Korea

By Bales, Design, Energy, Floors, Issue 62, Plaster, Straw Bale Construction, Straw-Clay, Walls No Comments

By Kyle Holzhueter

Editors Note – This article is a feature length pictorial look at the various aspects of natural building in Korea.  The full-length article will be in the upcoming issue of The Last Straw and is available in its entirety right here on the website for subscribers.  Make sure you have a subscription soon so you won’t miss this stunning array of natural building techniques.

Traditional Korean Architecture

Traditional Building in Korea relied primarily on natural and local materials.  Buildings were traditionally designed according to the 間 (Korean: ka, Japanese: ken) module, a common measurement found in east Asia.

East Asian Modual

East Asian Module

Traditional Korean homes generally have a timber frame with adobe or wattle and daub infill, though regional variations are found throughout the country.

Traditional House

Traditional House

Regional Variation

Regional Variation

Especially on Jeju Island where volcanic rock and strong winds are abundant, homes traditionally consisted of a double wall system with an exterior wall of volcanic rock surrounding an interior wall, creating a protected corridor around the house.  This in turn, protected the interior walls from wind and rain and improved the thermal performance of the home.  Also because of the strong winds, thatched roofs were generally secured by a net of straw ropes.

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Light Straw-Clay Appendix in the IRC

By Codes and Permits, Issue 62, Straw-Clay, Technical One Comment

codes1An appendix on Light Straw-Clay Construction was also approved for inclusion in the 2015 International Residential Code (IRC).  To date only the states of New Mexico and Oregon have a section on Light Straw-Clay Construction in their building code.  The proposal received a 6-3 approval vote at Building Committee Hearings in Dallas in April 2013.  After public testimony and immediately before the vote, one committee member encouraged approval, commenting, “This is the future.”

The appendix governs the use of light straw-clay “as a non-bearing building material and wall infill system”. It is limited to one-story structures, except it allows structures greater than one-story “in accordance with an approved design by a registered design professional.”  It is also limited to use in Seismic Design Categories A and B, but this includes approximately 85% of the contiguous United States.  Use in higher seismic risk categories can occur through the “alternative means and methods” section of the code with an engineered design.

The appendix proposal was submitted by architect Paula Baker-Laporte, who along with husband Robert Laporte form the company EcoNest (www.econesthomes.com) as the leading practitioners of light straw-clay construction in the U.S.

Acknowledgements

The appendix was co-authored by architects Paula Baker-Laporte and Martin Hammer, with significant input from Richard Duncan, PE and Robert Baker-Laporte.  Practitioners from mid-west, including Lou Host-Jablonski, Architect, Sue Thering, and Doug Piltingsrud, contributed to the Commentary, which is expected to make the appendix more flexible in its application.

The full text of the appendix as it will appear in the 2015 IRC can be downloaded at:

http://www.econesthomes.com/natural-building-resources/technical/

Additional text and illustrations are planned to be included in the “2015 IRC Code and Commentary”

Contact:  Paula Baker-Laporte at [email protected]

A Strawbale Residential Building Code for the United States

By Bales, Codes and Permits, Issue 62, Straw Bale Construction, Technical One Comment

By Martin Hammer

Mark, Martin, David and  Laura with ICC sign

Mark, Martin, David and Laura with ICC sign

October 14, 2013 marked an historic day in the history of strawbale construction and natural building.  A proposed appendix on Strawbale Construction, and a separate appendix on Light Straw-Clay Construction, were approved at the International Code Council (ICC) Final Action Hearings in Atlantic City, New Jersey.  Both appendices will be included in the 2015 International Residential Code (IRC) for one- and two-family dwellings.  (See sidebar regarding the Light Straw-Clay appendix.)

This has far reaching implications, because the IRC is the basis for the Residential Building Code in virtually every jurisdiction in the United States.  In addition to making permitting easier, obtaining financing and insurance through conventional channels is expected to become much easier, because concerns about structural capacity, fire resistance, moisture issues, etc. are clearly addressed in the code

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Adsorption (More Building Science)

By Bales, Building Science, Issue 62, Straw Bale Construction, Technical No Comments

Building-ScienceBy Chris Magwood

An important concept to understand when considering moisture and building materials is adsorption. Moisture in vapor form infiltrates any and all materials. The surface of most materials will offer individual water molecules an electrically charged attraction, and the water molecules will “stick” to all available surfaces. The makeup of plaster and of straw bales offers a vast amount of surface area for this adsorption. Plasters are full of micro-pores and straw has great deal of available surface area as well as micro-pores in the hollow stems. Together, these materials allow a surprisingly large amount of moisture to safely adsorb onto/into the materials without the water molecules accumulating in sufficient layers to become drops of liquid water. Bales and plaster can hold a remarkable amount of moisture in adsorbed form. “For a 8 pcf (pounds per cubic foot) bale, more than 1 pound of water (approx. 1/12 gallon or 0.46 liters) in vapour form can safely be stored per square foot of wall area” according to John Straube in Building Science Digest BSD-112. This explains why the walls can perform so well as “vapor open” or “vapor permeable” systems.

Straw Bale and Building Science: Growing Up Together

By Building Science, Design, Energy, Issue 62, Plaster, Straw Bale Construction, Technical No Comments

by Chris Magwood

Making Things Air-Tight

Making Things Air-Tight

The straw bale revival of the 1990s reintroduced builders to a pioneer building method that showed remarkable potential for building in a modern context. The nature of the basic components of a straw bale wall system – bales with plaster applied directly to bales – combined several obvious advantages over other wall systems while simultaneously raising some serious questions.

The advantages are familiar to TLS readers: low environmental impact, simplicity and well placed thermal mass. The serious questions and attempts to answer them were the lifeblood of TLS: What about moisture? Air tightness? Cold climates? Humid climates? Longevity of the straw in all these conditions?

There was a lot more going on in the construction world of the 1990s than the straw bale revival. The housing industry was recovering from multiple moisture-related disasters, many caused by overly airtight but under-ventilated homes and/or the use of un-vented “waterproof” exterior cladding systems. The research into these issues, among other factors, led to a rise in prominence of “building science” as a distinct engineering discipline. The straw bale revivalists were extremely lucky to have the attention of some of building science’s leading practitioners, in particular John Straube, who authored several key articles and studies about straw bale walls that were essential to answering the question of why bale walls were so resilient, despite some seemingly obvious moisture concerns.

Simply put, building science attempts to quantify the movement of heat and moisture through building assemblies and help designers and builders to make decisions that lead to structures that adequately deal with the moisture and temperature regimens of their particular climate and use.

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Straw Bale Construction Building Code (2013 IRC Approval)

By Codes and Permits, Issue 62, Straw Bale Construction, Technical One Comment

codes1A more recent post with a more in depth explanation of the ramification of this code appendix can be found here.

On October 14, 2013 the International Code Council (ICC) approved final action RB473-13 as a new Appendix R in the upcoming 2015 version of the International Residential Code (IRC).

The approval marks the latest advance of straw bale construction in the building codes and permitting process.  It is the highest approval to be granted for the construction method and will be adopted by thousands of jurisdictions around the United States in and after 2015.

The process of creating the IRC appendix was spearheaded by Martin Hammer of Builders Without Borders representing the California Straw Building Association, the Colorado Straw Bale Association, the Straw Bale Construction Association –New Mexico, the Ontario Straw Bale Building Coalition, the Development Center for Appropriate Technology and the Ecological Building Network.

Thousands of hours of work have been donated by Martin and various individuals within the straw bale construction community to make this milestone a reality.  We thank all of them for their hard work and look forward to even more widespread acceptance of straw bale building in the construction trades.

A copy of the approved appendix can be downloaded here:

IRC_StrawbaleConstructionAppendix_Approved_10.4.13.pdf

 

Selecting A Natural Hydraulic Lime: What To Look For

By Building Science, Issue 62, Plaster, Technical One Comment

By Michel Couvreux

Thanks to the hard work of a few, Natural Hydraulic Lime has become one of the materials of choice for restoration/preservation projects and natural building construction in the United States.

Suddenly realizing the great potential of NHLs in the US, and feeling the economic hardship abroad, several European manufacturers have begun to latch onto the path opened by Saint-Astier.

Unfortunately, all NHLs are not equal in performance and quality.

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Feuillette House

By Bales, Community, Issue 62, Straw Bale Construction One Comment

Update: The Feuillette House has been purchased by the Centre National de la Construction Paille.  They are still in need of support to complete their plans for creating a visitor center at the historic site.  

While Nebraska makes the claim for the origins of bale construction, the French have an excellent example of historic straw bale construction in Montargis (see map for location).  The Feuillette House is up for sale and the Centre National de la Construction Paille (CNPC, National Center for Straw Construction) is leading the effort, in partnership with the Centre Preservons Aujourd’hui L’avenir (Centre for Preserving the Future Today), to purchase and preserve the house, while also performing research that will help all of us understand the origins and background of this unique building.  

What we have been able to determine, in addition to what is on the website shown below is that the house is built over a partial masonry basement.  It appears to be a great old example of multiple floor and foundation configurations from the distant past.  

Other notable components of the building include the plasters and framing system.  Lime render was used on the exterior and gypsum on the interior.  The frame is very similar to what you would see on many modern straw bale construction projects, using 2x material to create full-depth posts.  This building is considered the oldest post-and-beam straw bale building in the world.

Maison-Feuillette-CNCP-1920-2013It also appears that infrared images have been taken of the house to show it’s thermal performance as shown in this document, which is partially translated to english.

At this point, according to Fabienne Pasquier, Communication Manager at CNCP – Feuillette, they have raised 65,164.8 € towards their 70,000 € donation target.  This money will be part of the 270,000 € budget for purchase and research.  They are very close to achieving their goals and could use help making it across the finish line.  A direct link to make donations by credit card can be found here with the english translation here.

According to their website “The “maison Feuillette”  was built in 1921 by Feuillette, an engineer who was looking for solutions to construction problems following the war. The house is at Montargis, 90kms from Paris. It has been for sale for one year.

On a plot of land 1500m2, the 2 storey house covers 80m2 and is aligned along the road. In the rear garden there is a shady terrace. Despite the ivy which completely covers the house, the render shows no sign of deterioration, proof of its durability. In the rear part of the land, there is a 100m2 shed built using the same method of composite light timber frame, but with no infill.

To know more about the construction technique, consult the article S&V of 1921 (in French) or a summary in your language.

The project website can be found here:  http://maisonfeuillette.compaillons.eu/ and deserves your consideration of support.

A Straw Bale Construction Wikibook

By Issue 62, Straw Bale Construction, Technical No Comments
By Duncan Lithgow
Straw Bale Building in Holland (Courtesy http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Straw_Bale_Construction)

Straw Bale Building in Holland (Courtesy http://en.wikibooks.org/wiki/Straw_Bale_Construction)

I love open content shared with everyone and improved by everyone. So back in 2006 after I was at the International Straw Bale Builders Conference here in Denmark I agreed to collect all the minutes and other documentation for the conference. I made this content into a website I hosted for  a while. But I was not satisfied with the reach of the content, it was only really people who went to the conference who new it existed. So I went to Wikipedia.org and discovered Wikibooks. As the name suggests, Wikibooks, is the the idea of Wikipedia applied to books. So I created a Wikibooks, with the unimaginative title ‘Straw Bale Construction’. The most developed part of the Wikibook is the ‘Technical Studies, Reports and Tests’ section which includes sections on Acoustics, Insulation, Fire Safety, Building Codes and Moisture. The most unusual part is perhaps the section ‘Pushing The Limit’ which looks at Straw Bale domes and arches (see the discussion page for a list of interesting links about that subject).
Then recently I got an email from Jeff at TLS announcing the relaunched website. So I wrote the text above and sent it to him. Quickly Jeff and I saw the potential of wrapping the TLS website around the wikibook. And with the wonders of modern website systems he had it working shortly afterwards. You can see the results at https://www.thelaststraw.org/the-journal/sbwiki/

So if you feel like taking a look, maybe even adding something, feel free. If you click on one of the ‘edit’ buttons you can get started. It’s a great place to add info on your national organization or some research you’ve heard about  – you don’t even need an account. All contributions are licensed for re-use, so if you find (or improve) a section worth publication on paper, let TLS know. And, yes, I keep an eye on all contributions. Write to me if you get stuck [email protected] and I’ll see if I can help.

New Feature!
The Last Straw is now hosting the content of this wikibook here, where it can also be edited and printed as if you are on the wikibooks site.  We encourage people to use this wiki as it appears to be the most comprehensive compilation to date on the web.  If you see something missing, 
incomplete or inaccurate, please participate and make this the most widely used wiki on natural building.
Duncan Lithgow works deep in the guts of Building Information Modeling on Northern Europe’s biggest hospital project, DNU http://www.dnu.rm.dk/.
 

Publication Review: The Straw Bale Alternative Solutions Resource by ASRI

By Book Reviews, Issue 62, Straw Bale Construction, Technical No Comments

SB_ASRThe Straw Bale Alternative Solutions Resource is a document prepared by the Alternative Solutions Resource Institute (ASRI) addressing, obviously, bale construction.  While the goal of ASRI is to “foster and facilitate the use of natural materials and systems in the construction of buildings…” this document is meant to focus specifically on bale construction and how these buildings can be permitted under the Alternative Solutions section of the British Columbia Building Code (BCBC).  For those of you familiar with alternative solutions, or alternative materials as described in the 2009 International Building Code (IBC), this document literally lays out the framework and arguments for the use of bale construction under the alternatives section of the BCBC.  While this is obviously geared toward the British Columbia provincial building code it has as much applicability in the context of other model codes around the world.  The complete and comprehensive nature of this document is a real lifeline for anyone requiring a permit in a jurisdiction with many questions about straw bale construction.

What makes this document most impressive is its coverage of all aspects of building science related to bale construction.  Moisture, plaster materials, fire, structural design, storage of bales, foundations, openings and box-beams are all covered in enough detail to lay a solid enough framework for anyone to permit a bale building.  The comprehensive nature of the document makes it required reading for all architects and engineers working on bale buildings.

While it covers pretty much every aspect that could come into question about bale buildings, it is geared for the seismically active maritime climate of British Columbia.  Expected rainfall in much of B.C. is heavy and they do not mince words when it comes to flashing windows, how far you should keep the bales above adjacent grade, and the role of roof overhangs.  While they do make sure that seismic design is addressed, they do not include any examples or give minimum requirements.  They do expect an engineer to be involved for the earthquake stuff.  One item to note that probably comes from being in a seismically active area is that all of their illustration show mesh being used in the plaster.  This conflicts with many purists view in parts of the world with low seismicity and moderate wind loads.

For the plaster junkies out there, it even has a section that will keep you interested.  It does a great job summarizing the basic concepts that we have come to terms with over the years and how a bale wall with plaster should perform.  As with the rest of the document, they do very well strongly discouraging the use of pure cement plaster due to the wet climate.  However, they do allow for cement-lime in appropriate ratios.

One important thing this document does really well is deal with terminology.  The basic premise first introduced in Bruce Kings book, Design of Straw Bale Buildings, is that the terms we use to categorize bale walls have been inaccurate and are widely misused.  According to this document the two types of bale walls are Structural and Non-Structural (much like all other wall types).  If you are going to use this document, you should get used to not using the terms  “load-bearing” and “post-and-beam” with the building officials.  Either the walls are intended to withstand vertical and lateral loads in excess of holding themselves up, or they are not.  How they are framed or stacked is of less relevance than how they are intended to perform, from a classification point of view.

Other notable items are clear statements such as the following:

  • “A minimum insulative value of R-28 may be used when calculating the thermal performance of a plastered straw bale wall using standard bales.”
  • “Conventional vapour barriers are not necessary or advisable.” (Polyethylene barriers are listed in a section titled Incompatible Materials, which also includes embedded rebar or metal and cement stuccos.)

Due to being in a wet region, one interesting inclusion is the following:

  • “In areas of high rainfall or high relative humidity, consideration should be given to making exterior walls “rainscreen-ready” in anticipation of the need for addition protection.”

In summary, the ASRI solution for bale construction is an impressive, well-written, comprehensive document that all professional practitioners of bale construction should have on their shelves.  While it does not go into detail as much as some books on the subject, it covers everything in a way that shows the authors did their research and left us with a worthy tool in our quiver.  The document is available from the ASRI Website for $25 to help offset costs and maintenance over time, as well as give ASRI a budget for their next projects, which, get this, includes the following:

  • cob
  • rammed earth
  • adobe block
  • light clay
  • earthen plasters and floor systems
  • thermal mass
  • on-site grey-water and black-water treatment
  • alternative healthy electrical technologies
  • passive and active solar integration, and
  • living roof installations

We should support them if they can do something similar for these other building materials and systems.

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