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RE: GSBN: re unplastered SBs and fire protection


The following ends with a comment about the ecohouse unplastered sb

This past summer we performed a full wall fire test at the Standards
Institute of Israel's testing facility.  No surprise to any of you: The
strawbale wall - 2 meters wide, 2.5 meters tall with 5 cm of earth plaster
(containing cut straw/chaff), interior (towards the fire) and exterior stood
the full 3 hours at over 1000 degrees centigrade.  The exterior temperature
of the wall did not increase at all.  At the completion of the test, the
authorities took samples of the plaster and the straw, 1 cm thick, to test
independently their flammability, drip and smoke indexes.  The plaster
performed perfectly and is now rated inflammable.  The straw of course burnt

The code states: all building materials that are thicker than 1.6 millimeter
must be tested independently, in addition to the full wall fire test, to
determine their flammability indexes.

So, in order to receive fire code approval, we need to send a straw sample
impregnated with a fire retardant in again for flammability testing.

1. I have seen "borax" mentioned often as an appropriate fire retardant and
termite protection measure.  For those of us without access to US
supermarkets - how do we make a boron based solution?  Have any Europeans
used this solution?
2. Are there other fire retardant solutions that we can make / purchase that
we can responsibly utilize, i.e. are not toxic or will in time be breathed
in by the building's occupants (like VOC's) that can be sprayed onto the
straw bale's exteriors before plastering (in order to work in accordance
with local standards)?

No one has stated that if someone chooses to leave straw bale walls
un-plastered then they need to sprayed (dunked?) with fire retardant. Is
this because it is trivial/obvious or irrelevant/unproductive?

In any case we need input on fire retardants to make fulfill the current
code stipulations.  In practice we realized that the real fire protection is
the earth plaster, integrally adhered immediately after wall construction.

Thanks - Alex

Alex Cicelsky
Education, Design and Construction
Center for Creative Ecology
Kibbutz Lotan
D.N. Eilot 88855 Israel
Tel: 054-979-9009
Fax: 08-635-6842
websites: www.kibbutzlotan.com

-----Original Message-----
From: Martin Hammer [<a  target="_blank" href="mailto:mfhammer@pacbell.net";>mailto:mfhammer@...]
Sent: Thursday, January 18, 2007 3:53 AM
Subject: Re: GSBN: re Ecohouse

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