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GSBN: Digest for 4/21/06

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-> Re: GSBN:Questionnaire
     by Bruce King ecobruce@...
-> Identifiying SBH with moisture-related  problems (was re: Questionnaire)
     by archilogic@...
-> Re: Identifiying SBH with moisture-related problems
     by Derek Roff derek@...
-> SBH with moisture-related problems
     by "Paul Olivier" xpolivier@...
-> Re: GSBN:Re: Identifiying SBH with moisture-related problems
     by billc_lists@...


Date: 21 Apr 2006 10:22:18 -0600
From: Bruce King ecobruce@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:Questionnaire

On Apr 20, 2006, at 1:02 PM, Jakub Wihan wrote:

> I have already got response from SB-r-us.
> However minimal, it is a response.

Jakub,  I have tried twice to send the questionaire to you, and it

Sorry to bother everyone on the list with this, but maybe others are
having the same problem.

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: 21 Apr 2006 11:05:11 -0600
From: archilogic@...
Subject: Identifiying SBH with moisture-related  problems (was re:

On Fri, 21 Apr 2006 "Jakub Wihan" kuba@... wrote:

> Yes, more monitoring in the houses with moisture problems. I agree. This
> should be done. How to find them?

Unfortunately, I think that homeowners with moisture-related failures
aren't likely to be voluntarily forthcoming in droves simply because they
are going to be reluctant to risk labelling the largest financial
investment of their lives as being a potentially unsaleable health hazard.

Another problem is that homeowners don't generally appreciate having
strangers poking around their homes looking for faults. It's a bit like
some people and their ages; they'd rather not acknowledge for certain what
they already know in the back of their minds.

I think that what would need to be done is for the researcher to compile
an inventory of SBH and then go out and have a look at all of them or
somehow get photos of them.

The ones that are most likely to have experienced moisture problems won't
be hard to identify since they will exhibit obvious detailing weaknesses.

Of those, it wouldn't be difficult to identify the ones with advanced
moisture problems because they will likely have tell-tale signs at the
surface indicating problems within.

Or the high-tech route, if the researcher is in an academic or
institutional situation, there may be access to the thermographic
equipment and expertise that enables non-destructive means of determining
the presence and amounts of moisture within building assemblies.

At that point, it will be up to the homeowner to decide whether or not
they are willing to proceed with further investigation/remediation.

As for ensuring the veracity of responses to a POLL format for gathering
data, it would be a relatively simply matter for the researcher to contact
the poll respondents and request the necessary verification info.. First
you make it easy for potential victims to respond and once you've got
them, the rest is easy. Isn't that the way it works ?

					=== * ===

On an unrelated note, the members of this List seem to have a habit of not
taking a moment to <snip> the messages to which they are responding, the
result being that the DIGEST verson that one receives will often contain a
bazillion complete re-iterations of messages, and if the Original
Postpersons are windbags like me, that's not a Good Thing so please
y'all,  <SNIP> before responding.

=== * ===
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>


Date: 21 Apr 2006 11:20:05 -0600
From: Derek Roff derek@...
Subject: Re: Identifiying SBH with moisture-related problems

- --On Friday, April 21, 2006 12:52 PM -0400 Rob Tom archilogic@...

> I think that what would need to be done is for the researcher to compile
> an inventory of SBH and then go out and have a look at all of them or
> somehow get photos of them.

I believe that Laura Bartels did some of this kind of research recently, in
several western US states.  Perhaps she could tell us about her methods and
results.  What say you, Laura?


Derek Roff
Language Learning Center
Ortega Hall 129, MSC03-2100
University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, NM 87131-0001
505/277-7368, fax 505/277-3885
Internet: derek@...


Date: 21 Apr 2006 20:53:03 -0600
From: "Paul Olivier" xpolivier@...
Subject: SBH with moisture-related problems

I built two strawbale structures in Texas, and after some time I noticed
tiny cracks appearing in the stucco. After a rain, in the area around the
cracks, there was a slight change in color that seemed to indicate
differences in rates of drying. The area near the cracks took longer to dry
than elsewhere on the wall.

When I moved my company to the far more humid south Louisiana, I was afraid
that there would be serious moisture problems. The central problem, as I
understood it at the time, was not the straw, but the sealing off of the
straw within the wall. If water could not penetrate the stucco, then the
straw would remain reasonably dry.

When the French first settled Louisiana, they figured out how to protect a
wall from moisture. Often they combined cured moss with mud, and they packed
this within a wall. If the wall was directly exposed to rain, they protected
it with lap siding. If the wall was partially protected by a porch, they did
not use lap siding.

So then I figured that lap siding was the way to proceed in Louisiana, and
fiber cement lap siding was ideal since it did not involve the direct use of
wood. But how does one attach lap siding to a wall of strawbales? Lap siding
demands studs, but once we use studs, then it is best to fill the cavity
created by the studs with chopped or loose straw. In Louisiana, rice straw
is abundant, but at the same time, the rice plant gives another by-product
that is far more resistant to moisture penetration and fungal decomposition.
This is the rice hull. This then led to the concept of the rice hull house
as you see in: <a  target="_blank" href="http://www.esrla.com/shotgun/frame.htm";>http://www.esrla.com/shotgun/frame.htm</a>

We ran a series of ASTM tests on the rice hull. The Moisture Vapor Sorption
Test gave some amazing results, and the Test Report for Resistance to the
Growth of Fungi was also quite interesting. See:
<a  target="_blank" href="http://www.esrla.com/pdf/astm1.pdf";>http://www.esrla.com/pdf/astm1.pdf</a> as well as
<a  target="_blank" href="http://www.esrla.com/pdf/astm2.pdf";>http://www.esrla.com/pdf/astm2.pdf</a>
It would be interesting to run the same tests on wheat or rice straw to make
a comparison.

So with lap siding that does not crack and with an agricultural waste
material that is highly resistant to water sorption and fungal
decomposition, the reflection was advancing. But the use of the rice hull is
limited in that it serves only as an insulation material. The next challenge
that I see would be to make structural members out of rice hulls, and Liam
Devlin out of Australia has patented (for Australia only) an accelerator
that bind cement to rice hulls. In this way one could fashion 2x4's or 2x6's
out of rice hulls and cement.

So in conclusion, the rice hull house concept is a reflection thoroughly
within the strawbale movement. When in Louisiana I saw the problem of
moisture coming, and I was hesitant and side-stepped it altogether. This put
me in a strange position with only one house to demonstrate the concept and
with a concept that is far from complete. It will take the mature reflection
of the GSBN to figure out what happens next.


Paul Olivier
ESR International LLC
519 West Dejean Street
PO Box 250
Washington, Louisiana 70589

Tel 1-337-447-4124
Cell 1-337-826-5540
<a  target="_blank" href="http://www.esrint.com/";>http://www.esrint.com/</a>


Date: 21 Apr 2006 22:12:48 -0600
From: billc_lists@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:Re: Identifiying SBH with moisture-related problems

At 11:07 AM -0600 4/21/06, Derek Roff wrote:
>--On Friday, April 21, 2006 12:52 PM -0400 Rob Tom archilogic@...
>>I think that what would need to be done is for the researcher to compile
>>an inventory of SBH and then go out and have a look at all of them or
>>somehow get photos of them.
>I believe that Laura Bartels did some of this kind of research recently, in
>several western US states.  Perhaps she could tell us about her methods and
>results.  What say you, Laura?

And don't forget, this is one of the reasons we put together the
Straw Bale Registry.  A fair number indicated initially that they'd
be open to research and testing. Others could probably be persuaded.

Seems to me such a project would require some fairly substantial
funding.  For one thing, there would be a lot of travel involved as
the homes are pretty wide spread.

- --
Bill Christensen
<<a  target="_blank" href="http://sustainablesources.com/contact/";>http://sustainablesources.com/contact/</a>>

Green Building Professionals Directory: <<a  target="_blank" href="http://directory.sustainablesources.com";>http://directory.sustainablesources.com</a>>
Sustainable Building Calendar: <<a  target="_blank" href="http://SustainableSources.com/calendar/";>http://SustainableSources.com/calendar/</a>>
Green Real Estate: <<a  target="_blank" href="http://SustainableSources.com/realestate/";>http://SustainableSources.com/realestate/</a>>
Straw Bale Registry: <<a  target="_blank" href="http://sbregistry.sustainablesources.com/";>http://sbregistry.sustainablesources.com/</a>>
Books/videos/software: <<a  target="_blank" href="http://bookstore.sustainablesources.com/";>http://bookstore.sustainablesources.com/</a>>


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