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My name is Martin Oehlmann, did some networking and a few constructions the
last 5 years. I remember myself being an optimist and launching an
international prize-winning competition for 4x5 houses together with
Arno Pronk en Jan Steenks  which hopefully will contribute to the factor

In that project I received some initial responses from the network and I
welcome everybody who is interested to ponder about a related
design, send your thoughts. Choice of the materials is free in approaching
15-20.... At this stage we are figuring out the best programme for checking
the used materials.

The city of Rotterdam has recently expressed interest to host the buildings,
however it takes 2.5 -3 years to change the local building programme for
that purpose,
so we are looking still for locations with faster scenario's in this

Underneath you find a 3-page concept. Again your illuminating thoughts -
suggestions - input is highly welcome and hopefully this set up might
initiate more than just that international competition in The Netherlands.

Best wishes, Martin

Sportlaan 336
2566 LN Den Haag
The Netherlands
T: 0031.(0)70.3650410
F: 0031.(0)70.3646900

Project proposal  for the development and construction of 21 environmentally
friendly homes, organised in a prize-winning competition (4 teams of each 5
houses and an extra model as reference.

This prize winning competition has two targets:
Demonstrating factor 15 and more is feasible technically and economically.
Creating a market for environmental friendly building techniques between
producers and consumers.


á Introduction
á Price winning competition
á Project proposal
á Procedure


Working Group Straw-Bale Construction The Hague (WG) is a branch of
Hipparchia Foundation, registered at the chamber of commerce in The Hague,
The Netherlands. Jan Steenks and Martin Oehlmann are re-searching
environmentally friendly building methods since more than 4 years,
especially straw-bale constructions. Aim of this research is matching with
the wider target to reduce environmental loads within the next 50 years per
person with factor 20.

This "factor 20"
has been calculated as following:

Environmental load 1998 X 0.5 = environmental load 2048
Global welfare 2048 = 5
Population 2048 = 2
Environmental load 1998 x welfare 2048 x population 2048 x environmental use
2048 = environmental load 2048
Environmental use 2048 should be 5% of the environmental use 1998

WG concentrates on the building sector as this is one of the large producers
of energy waste. Related to this sector expectations on global building
targets are extremely high. According NIBE the bottleneck over 50 years at
the building sector will be the building material. In The Netherlands this
sector does not reach more than a factor 2 with planned environmental
improvements. A fundamental change needs to take place if we strive to
surpass factor 15. WG assumes that through use of natural and fast growing
building materials this target can be reached.

In order to contribute to the realisation of a major environmental shift, WG
decided to initiate a price-competition for educational organisations,
specialised on environmental friendly buildings. In first instance WG has
established contact with TU and TNO Delft in The Netherlands. At this stage
we are extending the invitation to participate to building companies,
project developers, local communities, ministries, organisations with
related targets and last not least to international educational

The project should lead to realisation in 6 phases.

Prize competition

The prize competition is the medium to link the players which are necessary
for realisation of the project. In the offered competition the choice of the
material or reuse of materials free, as long as we pass factor 15 as a
minimum goal.

We strive for solutions that are adaptable in the regular building process
and for production lines.
Furthermore we ask from the participants to reflect on Dutch climate
conditions and production conditions.

Participants which meet these goals best, are winner of this competition. WG
suggests to create teams of participants consisting of designer, researcher
matched with a Dutch building company to be able to integrate the given

Furthermore we expect from the participants to meet elegantly the existing
prejudices concerning the use of fast growing building materials and counter
with an image of comfort, sustainability and attractive return on the

Project proposal

Realisation of approximately 21 environmentally friendly homes (holiday
homes see below) at a location to be specified in The Netherlands. These
houses needs to meet the minimum standard of factor 15 and should be able
being constructed in production lines within a given budget. The houses will
be designed in a combination of the mentioned teams from which 4 of them
will receive green light for construction of each 5 houses. The sale of
these houses covers direct project costs and rent for financing the project.
Research should be paid by subsides and partly by related universities
(Universities which will participate need to create a third financial leg,
by doubling their received contribution).

Meeting the lowest necessary permit standard, the homes will technically be
regarded as holiday homes officially. Permits for regular homes are more
difficult to achieve and would stress the organisation of the competition.
Before we build the 20 houses, a model unit will be realised as reference.
During the construction of this building the participants can gather
practical experience on application of chosen natural building materials.
During the construction of the 20 houses, this model building can serve as
headquarter and visitor centre. After the competition it will be for sale.

For supporting the goal to meet at least factor 15 spotting of best
environmentally friendly energy source will be required. The homes need to
generate energy as much as possible by themselves. Windmills or central
waterpump feeded by sun collectors might contribute to this demand. For
financing of this aspect NOVEM will be asked for subsidies and contact with
a local energy company will be established. Sewage might be connected to the
local system.

After realisation of the project will follow evaluation and publication of
the results. WG suggests to offer a price during a congress dedicated to
that project.


WG shall contact all players required for feasibility and realisation of a
successful project. Starting point is the quality and capability of the
person or organisation for realisation of a specific aspect of the project.
The proect is devided in 6 phases. At the end of phase 1 it will be clear
who will participate in which role.

Phase 1: orientation

WG approaches potential participants for this project. In mutual exchange
with potential participants WG will find out under which conditions these
potential participants are willing to participate in this project. A clear
balance between responsibilities and interests of the participants needs to
be achieved.  Results of these talks will lead to overall agreements. In
this agreement will be specified who will participate in a steering
committee, project group and who is takes the role as project manager.
Rights and duties of the participants will be settled during this phase.

Phase 2: organisation of the price winning competition

This phase specifies the start of the price winning competition. Items to be
specified are such as: final choice location, planning conditions from the
local community, choice of appropriate energy source, building of the
reference model.

With reference to the price winning competition itself specification will
tackle: competition demands, choice of the jury, final list of participants,
reader for participants, adaptation of the computer program on which the
designs can be checked on the achieved factor and fixing the competition

Phase 3: preliminary design

Selected designer/researcher create their preliminary design (p.d.). P.d.
will be checked according the contest specifications as articulated in the
planning conditions of the local community and the demands of the
competition. P.d. will be offered to local authorities and the project
developer. After correction approved p.d's. will enter the next level.

Phase 4: final design and specific description of its realisation

Designer/researcher forms a building team with the building company. This
team realises the final design based on the p.d. Jury, local authorities and
project developer judge the result. After correction approved final design a
description for the construction process of the final design will be
The project manager controls construction according this description.

Phase 5: realisation

Each building team is in charge for realisation of its units, the project
developer for the sale of the total.

Phase 6: evaluation

Evaluation will take place after realisation of the houses. This evaluation
covers success and failures of design, material and construction.  In
general each phase will be analysed. A boek will be compiled covering the
challenges of realisation of an environmentally friendly building system
that meets standards for serial production. Connected with explanations of
specific terms and language of the related fields this book might lead to a
basic introduction for those which intend to meet factor 15+.  Finally a
congress will be organised with one of the participating universities as
host. This congress reflects on the experiences and conclusions of the
project and the jury will announce the winner(s).

This concept has been established by Working Group Straw-Bale Construction
in The Hague together with ir. A.D.C. Pronk from the Technical University in

This concept is designed to attract participants to realise phase 1 of this
project. Suggestions and participation are highly appreciated.
Jan Steenks           jan.steenks@...         0031-70-3554279
Martin Oehlmann   martin.oehlmann@...    0031-70-3650410
Arno Pronk             A.D.C.Pronk@...   0031-15-2781289