[GSBN] R value export straw blocks?

Frank Tettemer frank at livingsol.com
Tue Jan 27 16:38:09 CST 2015

Derek and All,

Thanks for suggesting that about the builder discussing density right 
with the source, i.e., the baler operator.
That has been my exact experience.
And I've felt that it's a totally neccessary dialog, especially if it 
leads looking further, to another souce for bales

In searching for bale supplies, I ask right up front binding the straw 
with extra density in the bales.
Most farmers have agreed to this request, and set the compressor to it's 
max, (without breaking strings!).

Speaking of density and weight, I've worked with Hemp bales, and have 
found them the most dense. So dense, in fact, that I now avoid their 
use. They are so dense that when you ask them to be cut, they ignore you.
Nothing dulls an electric chain saw blade, or even a carbide circular 
saw blade faster than a hemp bale.
I also avoid them, to be more truthfull, because the amount of wood, 
stalk and rigid stems with in each bale, is a much larger proportion 
than the finer fibres. I anticipate that they are not up to their 
thermal best. I suspect  Poor insulation value, due to all the pathways 
created for convection, by all that wood.

My Loonie's worth. Valued closer to two cents worth more each day.

Frank Tettemer
Chair, Ontario Natural Building Coalition
613 756 3884

It would be chasing rainbows to expect every farmer to produce an 
identical bale with factory consistency and industrial precision.  On 
the other hand, the wide variation that John Straube has mentioned might 
point to a farmer’s ability to produce better bales without much effort. 
  I’m not sure how many farmers are in dialog with bale builders 
worldwide, but in my experience, it is normal for the farmer and the 
builder to discuss the builder’s needs before the baling starts.  If 
minor adjustments to the baler were all that is required to produce 
improved bale performance, I bet many farmers would be willing to do it.


Derek Roff
derek at unm.edu <mailto:derek at unm.edu>

On Jan 27, 2015, at 11:23 AM, Graeme North <graeme at ecodesign.co.nz 
<mailto:graeme at ecodesign.co.nz>> wrote:

Are we chasing rainbows?

Just about ANY strawbale wall will give higher R values than just about 
anything else in the natural building world. The science is one thing, 
  and really reaslly good to know, so once again I give my thanks to 
those who persue this, but the practical application of a readily 
obtainable, and variable natural material is another.

Talk of re-compressing bales, hammer milling straw etc, all head in the 
direction of energy dense manufacturered materials. This may have some 
use in making thinner prefab walls but moves away from owner built 
houses where so much of the true joy and affordability that building 
houses can come from.

For my 2c worth, If there was one bit of research I would love to see in 
s/b is an external rain-screen that can be incorporated simply and 
reliably into/onto an external plaster system that will keep straw and 
any penetrations in that system, well and truely protected from 
wind-driven rain.  In ohter word a hwol assembly that really works


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