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Re: GSBN:GSBN re Ecohouse

Hello everybody,

I'm not so surprised that the straw behind the currogated polycarbonate
sheeting still looks good as it never receives any rain (only humid air).

I'd like to know exactly how well Sarah's sb wall insulates. On our SB
house we noticed à significant difference (sorry no numbers just
feelings) after we applied the last layer of earth plaster on our north
wall, filling the cracks. The inside was allready well plasterd.
But maybe, if the bales are really dense and if there are no airspaces
between the bales the outside plaster might not be as important as I
take it to be. This would indeed be an interesting future test. But
maybe difficult to test because insulation testing is often done in a
way that by-passes air as a transport medium by placing a electricaly
heated plate against the wall. Correct me if I'm wrong.

However, Bruce, did you try the quick and dirty (and totally
un-respectful) lighter test while you were there? Meaning: did you hold
a lighter at the base of the wall? Would Sarah agree to this type of
fire demonstration of her 'slick and hairy' system? Probably not.
I wrote her an email some years ago. Expressing my fear that fire could
spread easily on the surface of the straw behind the cladding (assuming
the airspace is ventilated). She did not answer my email.
I have no idea how well the currogated polycarbonate holds up when
heated. But I'm sure the straw would stop looking so good (and maybe set
fire to the roof?).

With the risk of annoying half the people on this list. This is why
(most?) arhcitects freighten me. On the Eco building trade fair in Paris
(Bâtir Ecologique) last december I noticed that the regular building
proffessionals are gearing up to ecological building. This is of course
a good thing. On the condition that 'they' will make good buildings. And
this is why I think that Bruce's book "Design of SB buildings" is so

Thanks also for asking why THAT picture was, and still is, on the cover
of Gernot's book. The explanation (very 'sexy' picture) should be a
warning for all (future) writers among us. Don't let editors have 51%
power over the content and the form of the book. In my humble opinion
THAT picture undoes much the writing that is in that same book. Maybe
I'm making a case of something that will turn out to be in fact a good
and fresh idea. But I'd like to see some more data before seing it on a
cover of a book (wich is for the rest a very good book!).

Best regards to all of you,


Strawbalefutures a écrit :
We are more than happy to support Gernot Minke's nomination also.

And on the subject of the ecohouse in London I would just like to say that I
trained Sarah Wigglesworth and Jeremy Till in 1997 before they built their
house, and gave them the benefit of my advice, part of which was not to clad
the straw in the way that they have, so I am delighted that it is proving to
work so well.
Also they publicise their building as the first in the UK with planning
permission and Building regulation approval, but this is not correct, as I
helped self-builders to build their own loadbearing bungalow near Brecon in
Wales in 1996, and this had full planning permission and Building regulation
approval. It was also featured on the BBC programme Countryfile in early

Best wishes

Warning! Strawbale Building Can Seriously Transform Your Life!

Amazon Nails-Strawbalefutures. A not-for-profit social enterprise.
Tel: 00 44 (0) 845 458 2173
Hollinroyd Farm, Todmorden, W.Yorks OL14 8RJ

-----Original Message-----
From: GSBN [<a  target="_blank" href="mailto:GSBN@...";>mailto:GSBN@...] On Behalf Of Bruce King
Sent: 10 January 2007 23:25
Subject: Re: GSBN:Re: GSBN re: Minke

On Jan 10, 2007, at 2:43 PM, Frank &amp; Ingrid wrote:

Dear GSBN'ers . . . Being on the subject of new members we would like
to ask if a mail we send end of October 2006 in regards to a
nomination by us for Kermo
Juerman from Estonia actually was received by the list . . .

Frank, I don't remember seeing it.

and also support Gernot Minke's inclusion in GSBN, though I wonder if
anyone asked him if he WANTS to be on this list.  I can't imagine why
not, but you never know.

Some of you may be interested to know that when I met Gernot a year
ago, I asked why he had selected that photograph of the "ecohouse" in
London for his cover.  He replied that he hadn't -- the publisher did.

That building has, among many elements, an unplastered  straw bale wall
protected from weather by a sheet of currogated polycarbonate sheeting,
with an 8 cm vented cavity between.  When in London last November, I
visited the house and talked with the architect (who also lives there).
  I was surprised to see that the bales still look fresh and beautiful
after several years, and appear to be providing insulation because air
flow is stopped by a layer of hydraulic lime plaster on the inside

<a  target="_blank" href="http://www.swarch.co.uk/PROJECTS/type2/Project4/sos%20information.pdf";>http://www.swarch.co.uk/PROJECTS/type2/Project4/sos%20information.pdf</a>

and  <a  target="_blank" href="http://www.swarch.co.uk/index0.html";>http://www.swarch.co.uk/index0.html</a>

happy new year to all,

Bruce King
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