Message - Re: "Green Building Materials" Versus "Embodied Energy+Health Risks"

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Posted by  Harry Pasternak on August 17, 2003 at 23:00:10:

In Reply to:  Re: "Green Building Materials" Versus "Embodied Energy+Health Risks" posted by David on August 16, 2003 at 10:34:44:

Your comment about "Absurd" denotes that you don't understand the notion of "embodied energy" nor understand much about the R value of a Strawbale wall nor the cost of building a Strawbale house. Which is unfortunate if your are practising as an architect.

"Embodied energy" notion looks at the sum total of all the energy going into the item. In the case of strawbale "construction" - one has to start by costing in the billions spent to take water from the Great Lakes to the wheat fields in the Great Plains - the energy to produce tractors, cultivators, harvesters etc. THe gasoline and deisel to run them. The cost of all the chemicals used in production (for example 25% of all the crude oil that comes out of the earth is conerted into fertilizer that is then used to grow rice - rice straw), the cost of shipping the strawbales, the cost of the roads going to and from farms, the tax subsidies that goes to corporate farms etc. etc. etc.

The Strawbale Builders Assoc. in the USA states that a Strawbale house built by an unskilled person in a one off fashion will cost more money than an equivalent house with the same R values!

The claimed R values of stawbale walls has no basis in fact. In fact, an accredited laboratory (for testing insulation) has never tested strawbale walls. Just marketing spin by a few folks who write books about Strawbale "construction".

Yes a lot of absurd statements are being made about Strawbale construction - but not by me. A lot of absurd staements are being made about Green building products - I would venture to say that 98% of these products are not Green - but examples of "Green Washing" - an apt term. Don't you think?

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