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Re: GSBN: SB in Nicaragua



Hello Bruce (and everyone else) -

Regarding SB in Nicaragua, I had contact with a Bay Area Nicaraguan named
Roberto Martinez, who two years ago was interested in returning to his
native country to promote straw bale building there, starting with a project
on his own property.  He also had numerous connections in government and
academia (I believe in the Managua area) which could facilitate broader SB
projects.  I was starting to become involved, but his wife couldn't be
convinced, and she more or less pulled the plug on this dream of his (does
that ever happen?)

I don't know if he ever resurrected his plan, but his e-mail address is:
martinez_roberto42@...

>From your mention of "a Canadian NGO", I assume you mean Ron Stone and the
Pangea Partnership (www.pangeapartnership.org).  From my limited contact
with Ron Stone, and what I saw of their projects on their website, I was
impressed.  Ron and his organization have been building SB in Nicaragua for
three or more years.

I'm sorry to hear that SB buildings there are "melting".  I'd like to hear
more specific information, because of the implications for SB in hot humid
climates.  If there is solid evidence that ambient conditions in tropical
environments are killing SB buildings (as opposed to leaks around windows,
in roofs, and through cracks in walls which could happen in any climate) I'm
interested to know.

Ron was apparently working with an architect named Matthew Falkiner, who as
of a year ago was living in Nicaragua.

Another direction I can point you toward is an organization named
ViviendasLeon. (viviendasleon.org).  The organization is based in San
Francisco, and the director is Evan Markeiwicz (415-255-2920).  They are not
doing SB, but they are doing rammed earth and passive cooling in their
housing projects.  So it's right up your current alley of earthen
construction.

I hope you find some of this useful.

Martin (across the bay from you) Hammer




> I will be traveling to San Juan, Nicaragua for an earthen standards
> gathering at the end of March, and know for a fact that a Canadian NGO
> has built several SB buildings there.  I've also heard that they're
> already melting, and will try and investigate.
>
> I truly don't see the point of building with bales in the tropics
> UNLESS you're going to use air conditioning, and without air
> conditioning it would be very hard to make durable (non-melting)
> buildings.  It's the tropics!  You need a good roof, insect screens,
> and just enough walls for privacy (and, in earthquake areas,
> stability).  Wall insulation is downright silly.
>
> Anyone know of other SB buildings in Nicaragua?
>
> Bruce King, PE
> Director, Ecological Building Network  ( www.ecobuildnetwork.org )
> Publisher, Green Building Press  ( www.greenbuildingpress.com )
> San Rafael, CA 94903  USA
> bruce@ ecobuildnetwork.org