[GSBN] Prefab hoe-down

Graeme North graeme at ecodesign.co.nz
Thu Feb 25 18:06:24 CST 2016

Hi Wolfie


You are not really disagreeing with me at all 

If straw panels are as expensive as competitors they will lose out -as you say.  I know.

I probably should have said AND are as expensive….

but I am also really interested in developing and finding local solutions too - rather a local reed mat from NZ than an imported straw mat from Australia… 

- or a local strawbale than a remote panel

We will miss you




On 26/02/2016, at 11:48 AM, John Glassford <jacksflat at gmail.com> wrote:

> Morning Graeme
> Have a great conference and I am sorry that we cannot make it over the ditch but such is life.
> I agree with most of your sentiments re prefab walls however I have to disagree with you here:
> The second is that making prefab panels that are just as reliant on off-site factories, are as remote, or are as expensive as conventional materials is not all that advantageous.
> Yes they are competitive with conventional materials or straw bales for owner builders.  However I feel strongly that unless we take the "hippie" "feral" or "greenie" element out of straw bale building it will never reach main stream in the way we have hoped it would for many many years now.
> Professional builders look at the bottom line and unless we can show straw bales to save them money, and pre-fab straw bale walls are a whole lot quicker than "conventional" straw bale walls, we will never get it into main stream.  Time is money.
> We are kidding ourselves if we think that a handful of professionally built straw bale homes are main stream, it is far from that.  Just look at suburbia and the expansion in Sydney and even Wagga Wagga and you will see no straw bale or earthen buildings.
> To all of us who have been doing this now for many years and in our case since 1997, it becomes very frustrating when you lose out on a job to another totally unsustainable material such as hebel panels.
> "Clients" today want a contemporary look more than the lovely round shapes that we can create with straw bale walls. The straighter the walls the sharper the look the better they prefer it.  We can get strawbale walls to look like a hebel wall or block rendered but not low cost.
> Sharp Straw Bale Home
> Just the way I see it today.
> I do not see the SITUPS as being low cost in our society BUT I do see it as low cost in my home Kenya where labour is plentiful and very low cost compared to us here.
> We will continue to improve our methods and test them in the field and promote the straw prefab panels as we see them as being one way we can achieve a main stream environmentally sound building practice.
> I wish that we could have rescheduled our year to fit in with Methven so that I can present our thoughts and discuss these in person with you all but that is not to be. Drove through Methven last November for My Little Wolverine's BIG birthday, such a sweet place and I am sure that you will have a great time.
> Kind regards
> ​The Straw Wolf
> Huff 'n' Puff Constructions
> http://www.glassford.com.au
> 61 2 6927 6027
> In Australia (02) 6927 6027
> Mobile 0412 11 61 57
> RAG Endangered Species
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