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Re: GSBN:Leaving bales bare



Our experience has been in agreement with everything that has been said.
 Bales that have been exposed either for long periods of time, or to
harsh conditions, are more susceptible to future damage.  With that
said, even using the worst bales (and there have been a few; read
Crestone), if the details are executed correctly, the probability is
greatly reduced for future problems.

IMHO, it is all about details!  Personally, I am on a crusade, however
chaotic and exciting it may be, to rid the world of bad details.  This
is an education issue, not a technical one.  By employing sound
detailing and construction oversight is the only way, so far, to insure
our structures are built with the best knowledge to date.  There is no
substitute!

And in the spirit of sharing, our work over the past two years has been
spent mostly on-site stacking and plastering, making sure our systems
are implemented the correct way, the first time, to minimize future
moisture issues.  My engineering work has been shortened by overseeing
construction things that will hopefully become more well documented in
the future.  However, my point with all of this is, this particular
issue of mold in bales is one in the context of *many* parts we consider
in the overall context of creating the best structure possible.
Important and fundamental, but not critical.  Bales are bales!

To all of you who do this, I applaud you, and appreciate the dialogue
over such things!

Cheers,

Jeff Ruppert, P.E.
Principal

Odisea LLC
Ecological Building, Engineering and Consulting

Front Range Office 		West Slope Office
5444 Marshall Road		1022 Main St.
Boulder, CO  81623		Carbondale, CO 81623
303.443.4335			970.948.5744
303.443.4355 f			1.866.795.6699 f
jeff@...
www.odiseanet.com



John Swearingen wrote:
This is an interesting topic right at present, since we're trying to
stack 1000 bales in exposed gable ends in the middle of torrential wind
and rain in California (we've only lost 20 bales to the rain).  While
certainly I agree that it's best to use dry bales and get them plastered
quickly, I question whether this principle should be raised to a level
of almost absolute priority.  Habib's experiences, and our own, suggest
that the walls are pretty resilient when it comes to moisture.

It seems from what John is saying, that mold growth is jump-started in
bales that have previously experienced conditions of spore growth, but I
would ask whether, or how, this influences the future suseptability of
the wall to mold.  It would seem that the humidity level required for
mold would not change, simply that mold would appear more quickly, say
after two winter's wetting rather than ten?  If the walls are not likely
to experience serious wetting in the future, is this really a problem?

John Swearingen
www.skillful-means.com


John Straube wrote:

Rene's observations are similar to mine and I agree with them
However, spores exist is all bales unless they have been irradiated or
equivalent for some time
The difference in why under some conditions things take off and others
they
don't is likely (not for sure) due to the level of growth that already
occurred in the bales before the event.
Spores take some time to start growing and when they go dormant, due to
drying or whatever, it takes much less for them to start again.
Hence, I think the reason is that bales that have some growth, not
macroscopically visible, will go moldy really quickly, while those
with only
spores take a lot longer to start.


Dr John Straube
Assistant Professor
Dept of Civil Engineering & School of Architecture
University of Waterloo
Waterloo, Ont. Canada
<a  target="_blank" href="http://www.civil.uwaterloo.ca/beg";>http://www.civil.uwaterloo.ca/beg</a>


-----Original Message-----
From: GSBN [<a  target="_blank" href="mailto:GSBN@...";>mailto:GSBN@...] On Behalf Of Rene
Dalmeijer
Sent: Monday, January 17, 2005 9:13 AM
To: GSBN
Subject: GSBN:Leaving bales bare

Fellow SBers,

A topic I have been pondering recently concerns the logic of rapidly
applying plaster to bale walls. I plead for doing so.   Based on the
following logic:

Fresh dry bales are basically relatively spore free. If these bales are
rapidly encased in plaster there is very little chance that the straw
will
be infected with new fungus spores. Therefore seriously improving the
chances of a long life span of the SB wall even in the event of a one
time
wetting.

In the past I have heard about and seen SB houses that have
experienced such
a seemingly disastrous wetting without serious consequences. I expect
that
the bales were able to dry without fungus growth setting in because of
very
low spore levels due to using fresh and dry straw during the build. In
other
cases though I have seen bales rapidly growing mushrooms after a
seemingly
light wetting. I think the main thing separating these cases is the
presence
or lack of- spores in the bales.

I wonder what others feel on this topic. I strongly believe that one
of the
main tricks to longevity to SB walls is getting the bales dry in the
walls
and then getting the building rapidly out of the after building moisture
phase.

Rene

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----
GSBN is an invitation-only forum of key individuals and
representatives of regional straw construction organizations. The
costs of operating this list are underwritten by The Last Straw
Journal in exchange for use of the GSBN as an advisory board and
technical editing arm.

For instructions on joining, leaving, or otherwise using the GSBN
list, send email to GSBN@...HELP in the
SUBJECT line.
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----
GSBN is an invitation-only forum of key individuals and representatives
of regional straw construction organizations. The costs of operating
this list are underwritten by The Last Straw Journal in exchange for use
of the GSBN as an advisory board and technical editing arm.

For instructions on joining, leaving, or otherwise using the GSBN list,
send email to GSBN@...HELP in the SUBJECT
line.  ----