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

David Eisenberg strawnet at aol.com
Mon Feb 16 16:00:51 CST 2009

 Good idea!




-----Original Message-----
From: Graeme North <graeme at ecodesign.co.nz>
To: (private, with public archives) Global Straw Building Network <GSBN at greenbuilder.com>
Cc: Andrew Alcorn <jandrew.alcorn at gmail.com>
Sent: Mon, 16 Feb 2009 2:53 pm
Subject: Re: [GSBN] Embodied energy comparisons: SB vs Stick-built

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.


--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


? ? 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.


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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