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Re: GSBN:A question about quantification of carbon sequestration in a bale and bale structures

My memory of the carbon sequestration analysis on the Chinese and Mongolian
strawbale structures, is that energy conservation dwarfs the impact of the
carbon stored in the straw.  The few tons of carbon in the bales themselves
are part of the current carbon cycle, where plants grow and take in carbon
from the air, then die and release the carbon as they decompose.  This
cycle causes no net change in the atmospheric carbon levels.

While the bales in a house might delay the straw's decomposition by a few
decades, I don't think that we can expect, on average, to lock up much
atmospheric carbon in strawbale houses for very long.

In contrast, every bit of fossil fuel burned brings carbon into the
atmosphere that was sequestered millions of years ago.  Fossil fuel use has
caused the dramatic increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide, over the last
century.  The biggest impact of a strawbale home will be energy
conservation, leading to decreased use of fossil fuels.  This will vary
with the climate and the success of the design and construction.
Decreasing fossil fuel use, over the life of a strawbale home, is likely to
involve vastly more carbon that that which is in the bales.  And all the
carbon "saved" will be fossil carbon, which would otherwise have directly
increased the amount of carbon in the atmosphere.

I think that carbon sequestration is one of the weaker claims for strawbale
building.  On the other hand, energy conservation is variable with climate
and structure, making general numbers impossible.  Quantifying either of
these things isn't easy.


--On August 28, 2006 9:44:09 PM -0400 strawnet@...:

Hi all,

 A friend who we've been working with who is involved with Native
American renewable energy projects and also affordable energy-efficient
housing for Native Americans just inquired about carbon sequestration in
bales and bale structures. I know that there has been research done on
this and that some folks have done work related to getting carbon trading
credits for bale structures but after hunting around a bit here I can't
seem to lay my hands on that info and wondered if anyone on the list has
credible data and sources of information about that?

 Thanks for any help any of you might be able to provide.

 Warmest regards,

 David Eisenberg

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@...