[GSBN] Embodied energy comparisons: SB vs Stick-built

Graeme North graeme at ecodesign.co.nz
Mon Feb 16 15:53:51 CST 2009

Dear all

I suggest that Andrew Alcorn be added to this list - he has been  
involved in earth and strawbale building research and design for many  
years and is one of the few researchers I know of who is delving  
deeply into this embodied and related  energy stuff in buildings

In addition it will save me forwarding on loads of emails to him, and  
his replies to you


Graeme North Architects
49 Matthew Road
tel/fax +64 (0)9 4259305

graeme at ecodesign.co.nz

On 17/02/2009, at 8:39 AM, Derek Roff wrote:

> How about a more abstract one:
> Is this the best use of this material?
> Are we diverting/consuming a material from some other more  
> important use?
> This is sort of the flip side of recycling- removing things from  
> the market that have other uses.  The poster child for this kind of  
> dilemma is crude oil.  Oil pundits like to say it has a million  
> different uses, from pharmaceuticals to fertilizers to building  
> materials.  Instead, we burn 99% of it, getting the lowest possible  
> use from an amazing material.
> Right now, I look on ethanol this way.  To produce a marginal  
> (perhaps negative) energy source, we have impacted food supply and  
> general wealth and health in Mexico among other places.
> I don't have an example in mind for this kind of misuse of a  
> material as it relates to the building industry.  Perhaps others  
> can suggest one.
> Derelict
> --On Monday, February 16, 2009 11:01 AM -0800 John Swearingen  
> <jswearingen at skillful-means.com> wrote:
>> Ok, since we've decided that embodied energy is of less or equal
>> significance as life-cycle energy use, I would suggest that any
>> materials or forms of construction be evaluated on at least these
>> areas:
>>   ? Does the material contribute structurally
>>   ? Does the material contribute thermally (insulation)
>>   ? Does the material provide thermal storage (mass)
>>   ? Does the material provide fire safety
>>   ? Does the material contribute to the local economy
>>   ? What are the manufacturing environmental costs
>>   ? What are the transportation and wastage environmental costs
>>   ? Is the material a by-product, waste-product, or recycled
>>   ? Is the material bio-degradable, recyclable or land-fill
>>   ? Is the material toxic in manufacture, use or disposal
>>   ? What is the expected life-span of the system (resistance to
>> environmental damage)
>> Feel free to add.
>> John
> 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 at unm.edu
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