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GSBN: Digest for 4/19/06



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-> RE: GSBN:Moisture research
     by "Dirk Scharmer- FSB" ds@...
-> Re: GSBN:Moisture research
     by "Jakub Wihan" kuba@...
-> Moisture research + good news
     by Bruce King ecobruce@...
-> Re: Moisture Questionnaire
     by archilogic@...


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Date: 19 Apr 2006 02:29:02 -0600
From: "Dirk Scharmer- FSB" ds@...
Subject: RE: GSBN:Moisture research

Dear Kuba,
I'm happy that you do this work. We're doing some moisture research too.

- - Moisture/ temperature monitoring on 4 houses - one is being monitored
since November, 2004.
- - Dynamic moisture transport simulation with WUFI
- - Mold analyzing of embedded straw

The goal is to find the best prevention against moisture failure of a straw
bale construction and to get this in a buidling code.

In the next weeks we'll start a comprehensive research project with more
simulations, monitoring and analyzing. Our work and your work would fit
together perfectly to describe the complex mold problem of straw bales. Your
way to come more from the practical side may be the more significant one for
the building site. The way of simulating and mold analyzing for me seems to
be a good way to fit the requirements of the german building authorities.
Our first general approval for straw bales as an insulation material is
mainly based on simulations. Unfortunately we were not able to prove the
mold resistance of directly earth plastered straw bales, but we hope to do
this with the upcoming research.
We are working together with the Fraunhofer Institut fuer Bauphysik,
www.hoki.ibp.fraunhofer.de.

Let's get in contact!

Perhabs you would like to join our anual straw bale meeting in august,
18th-20th. There are some other international guests.

But anyway, I think we'll meet not later than ISBBC in Lakefield, do we?

You'll get my filled out questionaire immediately.

Greetings,

Dirk

- -----------------------------------------------
Fachverband Strohballenbau Deutschland e.V.
Auf der Ruebekuhle 10
D- 21335 Lueneburg
Tel. 00 49 4131- 727804
Fax. 00 49 4131- 727805
Internet: www.fasba.de
Email: ds@...



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Date: 19 Apr 2006 04:53:40 -0600
From: "Jakub Wihan" kuba@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:Moisture research

Dear Martin, Dirk and others



Thank you very much for your support. The responses I have gotten in the
last few hours are so encouraging and it goes on...



During my research, I found a number of studies that have explored the
microorganism population on straw over time either in laboratories or in the
field. The  classic paper: "How Straw Decomposes"  by Summers, Blunk and
Jenkins focuses on the quantity of population on rice straw during
decomposition in a low moisture content environment in sealed containers.



Does anyone know if a similar study (quantity development of microorganisms
over time) has ever been done on straw directly in a wall?



There are many practices developed by experience that help to prevent
moisture failure of a straw bale construction (the questionnaires I received
so far summarize them nicely). One of them is impeccable, but "breathable"
plaster. I feel that  simple research over a longer period of time on
development of microorganism quantity on straw in walls covered with
different plasters could lead to potential improvements in  straw bale
technology. The influence of plaster on microorganism growth could be quite
complex - for example the moist earth plaster swells up air tight,
preventing oxygen availability for decomposition, lime is natural
microorganism killer, etc.



GrAT, The Center for Appropriate Technology at the Vienna University of
Technology - is carrying out similar long term research. I'm trying to
contact them, but they haven't  responded. It seems that the results aren't
available yet.







And please, to those who haven't done so yet, don't forget to fill out the
questionnaire.



Thank you.



Very best wishes



Kuba


- ----- Original Message -----
From: "Dirk Scharmer- FSB" ds@...
To: "'GSBN'" GSBN@...
Sent: Wednesday, April 19, 2006 10:14 AM
Subject: RE: GSBN:Moisture research


> Dear Kuba,
> I'm happy that you do this work. We're doing some moisture research too.
>
> - Moisture/ temperature monitoring on 4 houses - one is being monitored
> since November, 2004.
> - Dynamic moisture transport simulation with WUFI
> - Mold analyzing of embedded straw
>
> The goal is to find the best prevention against moisture failure of a
> straw
> bale construction and to get this in a buidling code.
>
> In the next weeks we'll start a comprehensive research project with more
> simulations, monitoring and analyzing. Our work and your work would fit
> together perfectly to describe the complex mold problem of straw bales.
> Your
> way to come more from the practical side may be the more significant one
> for
> the building site. The way of simulating and mold analyzing for me seems
> to
> be a good way to fit the requirements of the german building authorities.
> Our first general approval for straw bales as an insulation material is
> mainly based on simulations. Unfortunately we were not able to prove the
> mold resistance of directly earth plastered straw bales, but we hope to do
> this with the upcoming research.
> We are working together with the Fraunhofer Institut fuer Bauphysik,
> www.hoki.ibp.fraunhofer.de.
>
> Let's get in contact!
>
> Perhabs you would like to join our anual straw bale meeting in august,
> 18th-20th. There are some other international guests.
>
> But anyway, I think we'll meet not later than ISBBC in Lakefield, do we?
>
> You'll get my filled out questionaire immediately.
>
> Greetings,
>
> Dirk
>
> -----------------------------------------------
> Fachverband Strohballenbau Deutschland e.V.
> Auf der Ruebekuhle 10
> D- 21335 Lueneburg
> Tel. 00 49 4131- 727804
> Fax. 00 49 4131- 727805
> Internet: www.fasba.de
> Email: ds@...
>
> ----
> 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.
> ----
>
>



----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: 19 Apr 2006 07:41:33 -0600
From: Bruce King ecobruce@...
Subject: Moisture research + good news


On Apr 19, 2006, at 3:40 AM, Jakub Wihan wrote:

> Dear Martin, Dirk and others

> During my research, I found a number of studies that have explored the
> microorganism population on straw over time either in laboratories or
> in the
> field. The  classic paper: "How Straw Decomposes"  by Summers, Blunk
> and
> Jenkins focuses on the quantity of population on rice straw during
> decomposition in a low moisture content environment in sealed
> containers.


Hi, Kuba and everybody --

That paper IS very good, and was funded in part by the EBNet testing
program;
an extended version will be in the book (WARNING: commercial  plug)
"Design of Straw Bale Buildings" which will be published in time for the
Canadian ISBBC in September.  It will accompany two fine sections by
John Straube on "Moisture Basics" and "Moisture Management for Straw
Bale".

Happy announcement:  EBNet has secured the funding for the ASTM fire
test I wrote to you about recently, and sometime in early July we will
be testing two walls, both with lime-cement plaster:  one with bales
flat, one with bales on edge.  That will be made available as a free
PDF on the EBNet website asap, and printed with unrestricted
reproduction rights in the book.

Many thanks again to all who provided support in every form.

Kuba, I'll try and get your survey done, I promise.

Thanks!

Bruce King, PE
Director, Ecological Building Network  ( www.ecobuildnetwork.org )
Publisher, Green Building Press  ( www.greenbuildingpress.com )
209 Caledonia St.
Sausalito, CA 94965  USA
(415) 331-7630
bruce@ ecobuildnetwork.org


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Date: 19 Apr 2006 11:31:26 -0600
From: archilogic@...
Subject: Re: Moisture Questionnaire

On Wed, 18 Apr 2006 Martin Hammer mfhammer@... wrote:

>
> Hello GSBNers.  I'd like to encourage everyone to fill out the Moisture
> Questionnaire for Jakub's research.  Important subject, and we will all
> benefit from the collected results.

<snip>

I will put up a copy of the questionnaire in the FILES section at SB-r-us
and make announcements to the REPP and SB-r-us lists notifying members of
its existence.

However I suspect that the response will be minimal ... as it was to a
similar questionnaire that was prepared by Mark Bigland-Pritchard (also
stored in the MOISTURE folder in the FILES section at SB-r-us) ... and as
it was to requests for monitoring data when Canada Mortgage &amp; Housing Corp
(CMHC) provided funding to evaluate economical/simple moisture monitoring
methods which resulted in the design of the wood block sensors that were
introduced to the SB world by Habib Gonzalez what, a decade or more ago ?

Even back then we knew that ineffective moisture detailing/management was
the Achilles Heel of SBC but still, too many people have in the
intervening years neglected to incorporate basic good building practise
WRT moisture detailing into the designs of their SBH.

We still hear of people building parapetted "Santa Fe" style SBH in
inappropriate climates (assuming that there is someplace where they are
appropriate)-- people building non-rainscreen designs with two-storey
walls fully exposed to rain-wetting -- people building recessed windows
with plastered sills in rainy climates-- people building with little or no
attention to air-sealing etc.

Quite frankly (and Shirley too), I don't think that it is more
questionnaires that the SB world needs.

I think what it needs are more forensic investigations into SBH that have
experienced moisture-related building failures. There should be plenty of
them (failures) in existence at this point in the SB revival (ie buildings
of 10 -15 years in age).

I think that the failures should be documented with lots of
high-resolution colour photos of the gory details accompanied by
commentaries from the owners and/or builders that talk about the mistakes
that were made. And then the reports should be read by anyone
contemplating building an SBH.

But the problem is, past experience seems to indicate that such
information is like dental floss-- people may know of its
existence/utility/wisdom but too often, don't bother to use it.

But back to the questionnaire:

The POLLS function at SB-r-us makes it very easy to gather responses to
surveys like Jakub's.
I have a feeling that if the questionnaire were set up as a POLL at
SB-r-us, there would be more responses within a week than there have been
in total in the months that have passed since Jakub first sent out his
questionnaire.


=== * ===
Rob Tom
Kanata, Ontario, Canada
<ArchiLogic at chaffyahoo dot ca>
(winnow the chaff  from my edress in your reply)

Please visit   <a  target="_blank" href="http://www.mercycorps.org/";>http://www.mercycorps.org/</a>



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