Straw Bale Construction Building Code (2013 IRC Approval)

On October 3, 2013 the International Code Council (ICC) approved final action RB473-13 as a new Appendix R in the upcoming 2015 version of the International Residential Code (IRC).

The approval marks the latest advance of straw bale construction in the building codes and permitting process.  It is the highest approval to be granted for the construction method and will be adopted by thousands of jurisdictions around the United States in and after 2015.

The process of creating the IRC appendix was spearheaded by Martin Hammer of Builders Without Borders representing the California Straw Building Association, the Colorado Straw Bale Association, the Straw Bale Construction Association –New Mexico, the Ontario Straw Bale Building Coalition, the Development Center for Appropriate Technology and the Ecological Building Network.

Thousands of hours of work have been donated by Martin and various individuals within the straw bale construction community to make this milestone a reality.  We thank all of them for their hard work and look forward to even more widespread acceptance of straw bale building in the construction trades.

For details and a link to a copy of the appendix, visit TheLastStraw.org. A huge thanks to the hard-working bale heads that spent years making this happen!

Lighting section re-do

Our lighting section just got a major overhaul, courtesy of meticulous researcher Paul Robbins of the Austin Environmental Directory.

Paul sifted through a lot of material and presents a coherent and understandable overview of the differences between incandescent, fluorescent, CFL, and LED lights.  He answers (with numbers to back it up) some of the common questions: how efficient are they, really; does the energy cost of manufacturing these fancy bulbs negate the savings; why do some CFLs and LEDs burn out prematurely; and more.

Have a look!

PS: comments are open in lighting – got a question or an update?

Note to those in the lighting industry: Now would be the time to list your company in the lighting page’s Resource Listings.  And if your company’s web address is listed in the article (or should be) and you want it to be a live link, please contact us!

The Solar Camel

I’ve been following posts from National Geographic journalist Paul Salopek as he walks the path of humans out of Africa, across Asia, over to Alaska, and down to Tierra Del Fuego – a journey that’s expected to take 7 years.  So far it’s been a facinating read.

I got a kick out of one of his recent posts titled Trail Notes – The Solar Camel.

Photograph by Paul Salopek Ibrahim Hagaita, the Djiboutian cameleer, leads Madoita, the solar camel.
Ibrahim Hagaita, the Djiboutian cameleer, leads Madoita, the solar camel. Photograph by Paul Salopek

“$3000 Scholarships available for Fall 2013 at Ecosa” is locked $3000 Scholarships available for Fall 2013 at Ecosa

Ecosa Institute will award several scholarships for the Fall 2013 term. These scholarships are funded by Ecosa donor Foster Stanback. Scholarships will range from $1500-$3000, bringing the total cost of tuition to as low as $3000 (currently $6000 before scholarship is applied).

Full details at http://ecosainstitute.org/blog/?p=2444

100% Tuition Assistance for Veterans Solar and Renewable Energy Career Training!

Do you know a Veteran or are you a Veteran yourself? Good news! Solar Energy International is offering 100% tuition assistance and career training in partnership with SEI’s Veterans and Active Duty Training Outreach Program and the Colorado Department of Labor.

In 2013, Solar Energy International’s (SEI) full certificate training program, the SEI Solar Professionals Certificate Program, received approval through the Colorado Department of Labor. With this approval, training funding was also unlocked for Veterans seeking career training in the renewable energy sector through the Veterans Workforce Investment Program (VWIP).

The VWIP has been funded again for 2013 for veterans in Colorado and many states throughout the country. VWIP funds can help veterans attain training through certificate program and certifications in various sectors that would help veterans become more marketable.

Other states may also have VWIP funds in place and should contact SEI.

Version 4 of the Green Building Professionals Directory is here!

We’re excited to announce that version 4 of our long running Green Building Professionals Directory is now live!

Right now we’re running a limited time promotion to get new listings in our Directory – you can list yourself/your company for a year for just $3.00 per category!

That’s right.  THREE BUCKS.

We’ve added some great new features:

  • You can now add images to your listing – your logo, your smiling face, or examples of your work
  • User reviews/ratings – have your satisfied clients add reviews to your listing, and give you 5 stars (all ratings will be moderated)
  • Better searching
  • Many more categories to choose from
  • You can also upgrade to Featured Listing – so you will always float to the top of the pack.

Tell your friends in green/natural/sustainable building to sign up now at <http://directory.sustainablesources.com>, because this offer won’t last long!

…Don’t forget to leave ratings/reviews on your friends’ listings!

Note: The Directory is primarily for services, not products.  Contact me to find out about listing your products elsewhere on SustainableSources.com

Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

2012 Straw Bale Olympics

The 2012 International Straw Bale Builders’ Conference hosted by the Colorado Straw Bale Association was a gathering of over 200 builders, architects, engineers, plaster professionals, researchers and educators from 15 countries. While much was serious exchange, the Straw Bale Olympics was great counterpoint and so much fun. See more at www.strawbaleconference.com and www.coloradostrawbale.org.

International Straw Bale Conference in Colorado, September 2012

Did you know that the early registration deadline for the 2012 International Straw Builders’ Conference is only a few days away! The conference itself runs from Sept 16-22, 2012.

It’s not too late for EARLY registration for the 2012 International Straw Bale Building Conference in Estes Park, Colorado. EARLY registration ends July 16th July 31st so get hopping and sign up!

If you have never attended an International Conference you are missing a great opportunity to meet some of the professionals from around the world and to experience an event which will boost your energy and confidence in building with Straw.

And if you have never been to Estes Park, I’m told it is one of the world’s most scenic venues – adjacent to Rocky Mountain National Park, the mountains and wildlife are to die for. The YMCA conference site is excellent, and the facilities food and accomodations are super according to friends who have been there.

By the way, a conference like this is NOT just about straw. It’s about plasters, earthen floors, building for cold (or hot) climates, compressed earth blocks and more.

SO – get busy and register today!

I’ll see you there!

–Bill Christensen
Founder, Sustainable Sources