Saturday, September 19, 1998 12:22:41 AM
From: GSBN@...,Txinfinet Incoming
Subject: Digest for 9/18/98
-> new government housing program
by M J Epko <duckchow@...>
-> Re: code enforcement
by M J Epko <duckchow@...>
-> Re: code enforcement/pining of bales
by Huff and Puff Constructions <huffnpuff@...>
-> Re: new government housing program
by Strawnet@...
-> Re: code enforcement/pining of bales
by Athena &Bill Steen <absteen@...>
-> Re: code enforcement/pining of bales
by Huff and Puff Constructions <huffnpuff@...>


Date: 17 Sep 1998 23:38:57 -0500
From: M J Epko <duckchow@...>
Subject: new government housing program

At 07:49 PM 9/15/98 -0500, brilliant Owen Gieger, on the ball! wrote:
>Have you learned about the PATH housing program (visit
> The emphasis is on how new building systems
>and products can reduce energy costs, global warming, etc.
>All the members so far consist of large technologically
>oriented manufacturers (Anderson windows, etc.) and
>government agencies. It seems like the straw bale community
>should be represented here with a professional, coherent
>voice. The GSBN may be the best mechanism we have. From
>the PATH homepage, select Technology Inventory and then
>Technology Inventory Entry Form to get a list of specific
>features they're looking for. They probably didn't have SB
>in mind but I can't think of another building system or
>product that fills the bill any better. Let me know what
>you think.

I think SB might turn them on their ear, that's what I think.

A million kudos to Owen Geiger for this heads-up. I completely agree with
what he's written above, and have copied over some of the introductory PATH
info from their website and the Form to be filled out below. Who wants to
run the first draft? Owen, I know you've got the second Habitat For
Humanity SB house in Pueblo cranking up, but do you have time? Would you
like to give it the first whack? If not, how about one of the new European
representatives? (It may be an American organization, but strawbale is


The Partnership for Advancing Technology in Housing (PATH) is a
public/private sector initiative which seeks to expand the development and
utilization of new technologies in order to make American homes stronger,
safer and more durable; more energy efficient and environmentally friendly;
easier to maintain and less costly to operate; and more comfortable and
exciting to live in.

PATH links key agencies in the federal government with leaders from the
home building, product manufacturing, insurance, financial and regulatory
communities in a unique partnership focused on technological innovation in
the American housing industry.


Welcome to PATHis Technology Inventory -- a unique source of information on
technological innovations in the housing industry.

The inventory focuses on technologies currently considered to be "emerging"
(i.e. with a market share of 5% or less) in a wide range of categories;
from new materials, components and systems to complete houses.

Each entry also contains a review of how the technology contributes to
PATHis overall goals of improved quality, durability, energy efficiency,
environmental performance and quality.

If you have a technology you would like to see in the inventory, please
fill out a Technology Inventory Entry Form and submit it to PATH for review.


Entry Form

You may fill out this form online or you may print out this page and send
it to the address shown at the bottom of the page.

Part One: Tell us who you are

Company Name:
Your Name:
Your Title:

Part Two: Tell us about your technology

Please complete the questions below. (If you have other written materials
or product literature which illustrate the answers to the questions below,
please send that documentation to the address listed at the bottom of this

1. What is the technology? Briefly describe the product or system.

2. How is the technology used in residential construction?

3. What makes the technology different from/better than existing
technologies currently available on the market? Describe performance and
installation benefits.

4. Please tell us how your technology supports the PATH goals of improving
the quality, durability, environmental performance, energy efficiency and
affordability of our Nation's housing. Please check all of the following
benefits that apply to the technology.

Reduces annual cost of homeownership.
Reduces construction costs:
equipment or other
Reduces energy consumption and/or reliance on fossil fuels.
Improves reliability or life expectancy, reduces maintenance requirement
and/or increases resistance to weathering, wear and deterioration.
Reduces need for clean water.
Improves indoor air quality.
Increases utilization of recycled and/or sustainable materials.
Reduces construction waste.
Increases resistance to natural hazards.
Increases worker safety.
Improves occupant security.
Other/Optional (describe)

For those you've checked above, please provide a brief description of how
your technology achieves those benefits.

5. What materials is the technology composed of?

6. What do you perceive as the current limitations to the product? Describe
why product does not have greater than five percent market penetration
(i.e., new product, code acceptance).

7. What is the current availability of the product?

8. What current projects feature the technology? Describe when and where it
has been used.

9. What future or pending projects will feature the technology that could
include PATH participation?

If you prefer to print this form out and submit a hard copy, please send it

Susan Pfluger
Suite B133
451 Seventh Street, SW
Washington, DC 20410
Telephone: (202) 708-4277
Fax: (202) 708-4250
E-mail: spfluger@...


Date: 17 Sep 1998 23:39:07 -0500
From: M J Epko <duckchow@...>
Subject: Re: code enforcement

At 05:48 PM 9/16/98 EDT, DE wrote:
>However, it seems to me that we should be taking responsibility
>for developing support and assistance for building departments
>so they know how to deal with these structures...
>Stephen Kanipe... [is] interested in helping establish some sort
>of printed material and possibly helping develop some training
>sessions to make the whole task of approving and inspecting
>these buildings easier.

Them Strawdogs, Turko & Greg, drafted a Strawbale Inspection Sheet for
building inspectors; perhaps they should be brought into this discussion.
Catherine was in contact with them in order to get an updated version to
run in the Codes section of the next TLS. We haven't received it yet, but
do have an older version. I'll ask Catherine where it's at, and get it
posted here. It would be good to have further input before we run it. If
it's going to be printed in TLS, it's possible that some officials may
start using it, so we should certainly try to do it up as right as possible
the first time.

If nothing else, I'm going to the next CASBA meeting, and if one of them
shows up, I'll shake them by the ankles until one falls out of their pocket.

Freewheeling autonomous speculation - Think!
Personality #7 represents only itself.
M J Epko - duckchow@...
Kingston, New Mexico
Waste no more time arguing what
a good man should be. Be one.
- Marcus Aurelius, Meditations


Date: 18 Sep 1998 06:44:09 -0500
From: Huff and Puff Constructions <huffnpuff@...>
Subject: Re: code enforcement/pining of bales

Dear David

Thanks for the information re code enforcement and pining of bales etc.
I totally agree with your advice re code officials and I would like to
add our observations:

Recently we completed our test regime on load bearing, in and out of
plane racking tests and the long term creep tets. Results will be
published in full in the next issue of TLS.

Just a comment re pins we only used starter bars 12mm rebar 300mm into
the bottom bales, we completely disregarded using any futher pins. I am
of the belief that the starter bars should also be done away with. I
feel that any rods in the bales is asking for trouble with moisture
wicking up through the base.

Also our tests showed, practically, that the walls once rendered were
strong enough to withstand 60 metre/second wind loadings before any
serious deflections occurred, that is 135 mph or 219 kilometres per
hour. As yet we have not attacked the Building Codes of Australia as
we have some good straw bale friendly engineers that will certify our
buildings, this is enough for most of our councils.

We still need to carry out moisture penetration tests around windows
and doors in straw bale walls, before we can apply to the Building Codes
Board of Australia for straw bale walls to be accredddited as a
bone-fide building system. But which system? We need to do so much
more on research with straw bales. However we are going at a fair speed
and the technology will find it's place here in Australia and I am of
the belief that we will get into main stream building before I am too
much older.

Just some observations from down under and I will be back on air
sometime next week, off to Gloucester to help a cove who is having a go
with a load bearing house this week-end.

Talk real time soon.

Regards John Glassford


Date: 18 Sep 1998 09:55:02 -0500
From: Strawnet@...
Subject: Re: new government housing program

Regarding the PATH initiative, this was one of the programs that I discussed
with Valerie Baldwin, Congressman Jerry Lewis' aide, when I met with her last
June in Washington, DC. I have also talked with David Engel at HUD about it,
in both cases in relation to the inclusion of alternative and low-impact
building systems and the possibility for research, testing and development
support for these systems.

As the program is just coming up for its real funding, these have been rather
preliminary discussions. But, as fate would have it, yesterday I met Deane
Evans, Executive Director of PATH, at a meeting here in Tucson, Innovation 100
'98 - The Home Innovation Network, put on by IBACOS (Integrated Building and
Construction Solutions) which is a strategic alliance with DOE's Building
America program and the building industry. Deane is one of the presenters at
this morning's session and I will try to talk with him about straw bale and
other alternatives. I did manage to talk briefly with him yesterday and gave
him some of our (DCAT's) literature and he is very interested in our building
code work. He also was one of the members of the breakout session yesterday
afternoon that I was in and there were some very interesting discussions
there. I was a rather active participant, so he knows at least some of the
things I care about. I'll let you know what transpires today, but I need to
go now so I'm not late to today's session.

David Eisenberg


Date: 18 Sep 1998 11:00:08 -0500
From: Athena &Bill Steen <absteen@...>
Subject: Re: code enforcement/pining of bales


Could you describe the mix used for your rendering? Without waiting for
your paper, could you give a quick synopsis of the "long-term creep"

Athena and Bill Steen
The Canelo Project
HC1 Box 324
Canelo/Elgin, AZ 85611
(520)455-9360 FAX


Date: 18 Sep 1998 13:48:00 -0500
From: Huff and Puff Constructions <huffnpuff@...>
Subject: Re: code enforcement/pining of bales

Athena &Bill Steen wrote:
> John,
> Could you describe the mix used for your rendering? Without waiting for
> your paper, could you give a quick synopsis of the "long-term creep"
> behavior?

Dear Athena and Bill

The render mixes are not very exiting as our councils/engineers only
understand a portland cement based mix at the moment.

The mixes were:

Scratch Coat: 4 sharp sand: 1 portland cement: 1 plaster master

Brown Coat: 5 sharp sand: 1 portland cement: half plaster master

Colour Coat 6 sharp sand: 1 portland cement: quarter plaster master

With a dash of Bicol in each mix.

The long term creep tests showed that there was movement between the
render and the straw but not enough to be worried about but enough to
advise builders not to fix their cornice to the top plates but to the
bottom cords of their trusses. The exact method of testing will be in
my paper with photos and diagrams.

Nothing to be worried about but in the case of load bearing two string
rice straw bales plenty to be exited about in the results along with the
wind loadings we now have a PRODUCT that councils can at last
understand. Australian red tape is amongst the worst in the world and
there is no bribery involved. Our public servants were well trained by
the British.

Regards John Glassford

PS I have not forgotten the Canelo Project and as soon as I get the time
I will send you the promised donations from the participants of our last

Just leaving for Gloucester in NSW 4.30 am I will be back on Tuesday.
The more I see of straw bale building the more I want to help others
more unfortunate than ourselves, look at what is happenning in
Bangladesh at the moment some 20-30 million homeless from floods, but SB
is not so good in floods.



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