[GSBN] prefab strawbale

John Swearingen jswearingen at skillful-means.com
Wed Jul 29 19:21:59 CDT 2009

*Petitio principii, *my dear Bruce.  Is there something wrong with wood?

Or do you mean, to *much* wood? or *redundant* wood?  or too many wood *
buildings* cluttering up the landscape?

Ah,.... we could go on for a long time about this.

But you have to wonder (or at least I do, and with all due respect), why a
very expensive and perhaps somewhat silly modular system gets lots of
funding, a live cam lots of people with bright vests and hard hats to

I would submit that it's about marketing in the broadest sense.  As remarked
earlier, the architecture and building trades depend on spec-easy
systems---no matter the cost---and this system is just that.

I do have confidence, regardless, that straw bale gives good value for
dollar when all real factors are considered.  It's a long way from a
one-paragraph specification, though.  And that, I would say, is the
"building standard" that straw bale hasn't met.

John "Specularly Spectacular" Swearingen

On Wed, Jul 29, 2009 at 4:07 PM, Bruce King <ecobruce at sbcglobal.net> wrote:

> Prefab or site built, compadres and commadres, what still drives me a bit
> nuts is that we are still using quite a lot of framing lumber to build
> (most) straw bale buildings.  There are lots of compelling reasons for that,
> of course, but I keep hoping someone will make the breakthrough that makes
> load-bearing straw bale much easier and hassle-free.
> There are lots and lots of load-bearing bale buildings all over the world,
> yes, of course, but they are not mainstream.  Meaning:  in one way or
> another they are not easy, or cheap (??!!??), or just don't meet (or haven't
> yet been proven to meet) the kind of building standards that most of us have
> to work with.
> Straw bale building is stuck in a bit of a wood rut, and I don't know how
> to bump it out.  Do you?
> Thanks,
> Bruce King
> (415) 987-7271
> bruce-king.com
> On Jul 29, 2009, at 3:51 PM, John Glassford wrote:
> G ' day Again
> Re the costing of the Pommie Panels.
> They say from 250 pounds per square metre that is expensive, very
> expensive.  That brings them in at around $500 per square metre and as we
> all know it takes around three standard bales for one square metre of wall.
> In our case that costs $15 per square metre just for the bales.  Then you
> have to build them and render them of course but the margin is huge in the
> case of the Pommie Panels v the good old Nebraska way!
> I am of the opinion that tilt up panels will have their place but the costs
> of manufacture transportation and erection cannot compete with the way we
> build with straw bale just like this little cottage:
> http://glassford.com.au/main/?attachment_id=1751
> The Straw Wolf.
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John Swearingen

Skillful Means
blog: https://skillfulmeansdesign.wordpress.com
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