[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

GSBN: Digest for 7/3/07



This message contains a digest of the messages posted to the list today. If
you reply to this message, please be sure to change the subject line to
something meaningful. Also, be careful not to include the entire text of this
message in your reply.


---------------------------------------------------------------------


-> Re: GSBN:Cemento
     by Rikki Nitzkin rikkinitzkin@...
-> Re: GSBN:Cemento
     by Darrel DeBoer Darrel@...
-> Re: GSBN:Cemento (combined responses)
     by Mark Piepkorn mark@...
-> Re: GSBN:Cemento
     by Catherine Wanek cat@...
-> Snow loads and load bearing. Is it a lost cause ?!!!
     by larskeller@...


----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: 3 Jul 2007 11:43:28 -0500
From: Rikki Nitzkin rikkinitzkin@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:Cemento


Thanks all (especially Mark) for the info on cement.

Since I jumped into construction directly with strawbale, instead of
"converting" from conventional construction, I have had no personal experience
working with cement.  From what I have read/seen it is only "necessary" to use
cement if you can=C2=B4t afford to use lime, and wherever it is possible use
clay instead of lime (which almost always is an industrial process and uses
fuel).  I refer to the typical "The Romans didn=C2=B4t use cement, and look
where it got them..." Of course I only work on small buildings...

By the way, I have no idea what "Fly Ash" is, so can't say if its used outside
of the US or not...

Check out the book "Radical Simplicity".  Its time we un-complicate our lives.

Rikki


- -----Original Message-----
>From: Martin Hammer mfhammer@...
>Sent: Jul 2, 2007 10:52 PM
>To: GSBN GSBN@...
>Subject: Re: GSBN:Cemento
>
>Mark - 
>
>Thanks for that great and thorough article about concrete from the archives
>of the Environmental Building News.
>
>Rikki, I second Mark's recommendation that you obtain Bruce King's terrific
>book "Making Better Concrete".  (see the website of his Green Building Press
>- www.greenbuildingpress.com).  The last chapter "Why Use Fly Ash?", is what
>is most relevant to your question about the downsides of cement.  The rest
>of the slim book is a thorough look at substituting fly ash for cement in
>concrete.  In order to use less cement (replacing it with the industrial
>waste product of fly ash or a natural pozzolan) AND to get better (in many
>ways) concrete.
>
>I wonder how available and how often fly ash is used outside the US, and was
>interested to hear Chris Stafford's comments about it becoming less
>available/suitable in his (northwest) part of the US.  And about a move to
>import it from the Philippines (!?)
>
>Concrete does have many incredible characteristics, and is tempting (and
>sometimes necessary?) to use as a building material.  But if your goal is to
>minimize the use of cement, then substituting fly ash is one way.  Of course
>minimizing or not using cement and concrete at all is another.  (By the way,
>I'm an advocate of rubble trench foundations.)
>
>We all decide how far to take the quest to create the greenest buildings we
>can.  So I'll just state what I see as the limit - that the greenest
>building is no building at all.  Not a lot of fun or very creative, but if
>you're talking exclusively about doing the best thing environmentally, it's
>had to argue with nothing.
>
>Except maybe to restore or clean up some place that has already been
>damaged.  And thus: Restore, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle  (in that order).
>
>Last week a "plan checker" who was reviewing two straw bale houses I
>designed presented the friendly challenge that, in environmental terms,
>straw bale buildings are a case of the "the emperor's new clothes" (from the
>Hans Christen Andersen tale, where the emperor claimed to be wearing
>beautiful clothes, but actually had nothing on).  That they aren't
>particularly green if they are large or use a lot of concrete, or depending
>on other materials they use.
>
>Of course he's right.  So just a reminder to always ask ourselves what is
>truly "green", and consider the indirect aspects and issues that aren't
>often mentioned, like land use, material durability, etcetera . . . .
>
>So if you can't build nothing, and must build something, then simply build
>as green as you can.  (Not that you aren't already.)
>
>Martin Hammer
>California
> 
>
>
>
>> At 08:33 AM 6/24/2007, Rikki  Nitzkin wrote:
>>> I know all the arguments, but I don=C2=B4t have any
>>> firm statistics from reliable sources to back up my arguments.
>> 
>> The text of a 1993 article from Environmental
>> Building News, without its charts and diagrams, follows below.
>> 
>> On the whole, the cement industry hasn't changed
>> a lot since the article. One thing to note is
>> that in the U.S., we import a lot of cement -
>> it's not always a local or even regional product.
>> We even bring it over from China.
>> 
>> We had a couple higher-ups from the Portland
>> Cement Association's sustainability task group -
>> yes, they actually have one - in our offices last
>> year. They didn't have horns and tails, and were
>> surprisingly forthright in acknowledging their
>> industry's shortcomings. Doesn't mean that we
>> don't use way too much concrete in the built
>> environment, though. For their spin, see www.concrete.org
>> 
>> I'd like to recommend Bruce King's book, Making
>> Better Concrete: Guidelines to Using Fly Ash for
>> Higher Quality, Eco-friendly Structures.
>> 
>> - - - - -
>> 
>> Cement and Concrete:
>> Environmental Considerations
>> Feature - Environmental Building News March/April 1993
>
>
>----
>For instructions on joining, leaving, or otherwise using the GSBN list, send
email to GSBN@...HELP in the SUBJECT line.
>----
>



----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: 3 Jul 2007 12:54:35 -0500
From: Darrel DeBoer Darrel@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:Cemento

Marty,
In terms of deciding priorities, there was a line that helped me
tremendously in Stuart Cowan / Sim Van der Ryn's book, Ecological
Design.  They mention it almost in passing that 97% of the energy used
in buildings in the U.S. is "maintenance energy" which is what is
required to heat, cool and fix.  In those terms, strawbale construction
is simply a cheap form of insulation, and the energy-intensiveness of
any of the materials pales in comparison.  (but I still want to stop
using cement anyway!)

- -- Darrel Deboer
California

Martin Hammer wrote:

  
Last week a "plan checker" who was reviewing two straw bale houses I
designed presented the friendly challenge that, in environmental terms,
straw bale buildings are a case of the "the emperor's new clothes" (from the
Hans Christen Andersen tale, where the emperor claimed to be wearing
beautiful clothes, but actually had nothing on).  That they aren't
particularly green if they are large or use a lot of concrete, or depending
on other materials they use.


- --- StripMime Report -- processed MIME parts ---
text/html (html body -- converted)
- ---


----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: 3 Jul 2007 13:44:19 -0500
From: Mark Piepkorn mark@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:Cemento (combined responses)

Responses to, and inspired by, Graeme, Chris, Martin, Rikki, and Darrel
follow.


At 07:14 PM 6/30/2007, Graeme North wrote:
>...does anybody know the latest world wide CO2 emission levels so we
>can gauge the latest % of world total CO2 emissions contributed by
>the cement industry?

         It trails WAY behind the transportation and energy sectors.
But it's another thing among so many that we can directly address
with the choices we make.

         None of the globally comprehensive C02-emission references I
know of uses data newer than a few years old.

         Carbon Dioxide Emissions by Economic Sector (dated 2005, the
data seems to be older)
<a  target="_blank" href="http://earthtrends.wri.org/pdf_library/data_tables/cli2_2005.pdf";>http://earthtrends.wri.org/pdf_library/data_tables/cli2_2005.pdf</a>

         Carbon Dioxide Emissions by Source 2005 (dated 2005, the
data seems to be older)
<a  target="_blank" href="http://earthtrends.wri.org/pdf_library/data_tables/cli3_2005.pdf";>http://earthtrends.wri.org/pdf_library/data_tables/cli3_2005.pdf</a>

         For those of us in the U.S. (and anybody else interested), see
<a  target="_blank" href="http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/ggrpt/carbon.html";>http://www.eia.doe.gov/oiaf/1605/ggrpt/carbon.html</a>



At 08:14 PM 7/1/2007, Chris Stafford wrote:
>A copy I had, by the way written by Alex Wilson...

         Thanks for pointing that out. I should have included the
byline even if the author wasn't my boss... oops.

>Unfortunately fly ash, in this country, will soon be loosing its
>"green" status.

         I hadn't heard this - I'm glad you took the time to drop a
line about it. I forwarded your note around the editorial staff, in
case it hasn't hit their radar yet.



At 04:52 PM 7/2/2007, Martin Hammer wrote:
>... was interested to hear Chris Stafford's comments about it
>becoming less available/suitable in his (northwest) part of the US.

         I wonder if it's more than regional, or going to be. There
was a story on NPR the other day about how Montana coal is decimating
the Appalachian coal industry. While Montana's coal is easier to
extract - less embodied energy - it's dirtier, as Chris pointed out,
and has less energy potential, so you have to burn more.
Win-lose-lose-lose-lose...



At 12:31 PM 7/3/2007, Rikki Nitzkin wrote:
>Check out the book "Radical Simplicity".  Its time we un-complicate our
lives.

         I second this. I've been fortunate to meet the author, Jim
Merkel, a couple times. Amazing, inspiring guy. He's going to be at
the regional Natural Building Colloquium in New York for a couple
days this year
<a  target="_blank" href="http://www.peaceweavers.com/bws/";>http://www.peaceweavers.com/bws/</a>

         I'm hoping for some kind of galactic energy burst when he
and David Eisenberg are in the same place.   :)



At 01:43 PM 7/3/2007, Darrel DeBoer wrote:
>Stuart Cowan / Sim Van der Ryn's book, Ecological Design...
>mention[s] almost in passing that 97% of the energy used in
>buildings in the U.S. is "maintenance energy" which is what is
>required to heat, cool and fix. In those terms, strawbale
>construction is simply a cheap form of insulation, and the
>energy-intensiveness of any of the materials pales in comparison.
>(but I still want to stop using cement anyway!)

         Unfortunately, there are people who use that logic to
relieve themselves of the responsibility of making wise material
choices. (You're not one of them, and I'm not trying to put words in
your mouth. Your work speaks loudly for itself.)

         David Eisenberg (there he is again) once wrote, "This
reminds me of the argument I've heard that embodied energy in a
building is dwarfed by the operating energy and so is insignificant
and can be ignored. I think that the embodied energy is typically
quite significant by itself, meaning that operating energy is
enormously significant... in other words, I agree that the ratio is
important and we need to focus our actions where we get the most
effective results, but that doesn't justify ignoring significant
impacts because they are smaller relative to other impacts."



Mark Piepkorn
www.potkettleblack.com

USA Today has come out with a new survey:
Apparently three out of four people make up
75 percent of the population.
   - David Letterman



----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: 3 Jul 2007 16:09:40 -0500
From: Catherine Wanek cat@...
Subject: Re: GSBN:Cemento

At 11:43 AM 7/3/2007, `Darryl wrote:
>...... in Stuart Cowan / Sim Van der Ryn's book, Ecological
>Design.  They mention it almost in passing that 97% of the energy
>used in buildings in the U.S. is "maintenance energy" which is what
>is required to heat, cool and fix.

I heard this "statistic" a number of years ago during a presentation
at a Department of Energy -sponsored  conference.  It was given as
part of the results of a study done by the concrete industry.

For what it is worth, their results were:  95% "maintenance energy,"
based on a 100-year life of a building.

- -Catherine

Each year the amount of energy lost through UNINSULATED homes in the
United States is equivalent to the amount of fuel delivered annually
through the Alaskan Pipeline -- U.S. Department of the Interior, 2000


- --- StripMime Report -- processed MIME parts ---
multipart/alternative
  text/plain (text body -- kept)
  text/html
- ---


----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: 3 Jul 2007 17:51:44 -0500
From: larskeller@...
Subject: Snow loads and load bearing. Is it a lost cause ?!!!

Dear GSBN'ers

In Norway a permit was recently given a go-ahead to a 50 building
strong eco-village. By far the grandest ever in Norway.

It has this far been our plan to build the very first of the houses
using mini bigbales in a loadbearing construction.

BUT =96 and this is the reason I write to you: when the other day we sat
down and looked very carefully at Bruce Kings data in his amazing book
"Design of Straw Bale Buildings", it appears to us that we discovered,
that loadbearing, clayplastered, onestory buildings are NOT an option
in Norway.

Given that:
the snowload varies from 2.5 kN/m2 to 8 kN/m2
adding up the snow load, including dynamic load, the roof itself, and
a build in loft, this adds up to 43 kN/m2 on the loadbearing straw
bale wall.
Basing the calculation on a hybrid construction we get 24,5 kN/m2
straw bale wall.

According to Bruce's book these figures are WAY beyond the limit.

Can anyone please tell me that we're wrong ?

Best regards
Lars Keller

- -- 
jomorandin@...
larskeller@...

<a  target="_blank" href="http://www.dr.dk/DR2/Friland/Familierne/Jo+og+Lars/";>http://www.dr.dk/DR2/Friland/Familierne/Jo+og+Lars/</a>

+45 8668 0505

mobiler
Lars +45 2024 0505
Jo +45 2390 0924

Jo Morandin, Asger &amp; Lars Keller
Friland 12 B
8410 R=F8nde
Danmark
- --


----------------------------------------------------------------------

End of Digest

To request a copy of the help file, reply to this message and put "help" in
the subject.