New Frameworks Natural Building is performing building diagnostics tests on straw bale houses to gather data for a forthcoming book.
Help construct a future built environment that achieves exceptional energy performance with less foam and other ecologically- and human health-harmful compounds!
Thanks to you the tremendous generosity of our backers, we have already reached our funding goal! However, this goal is a minimum set to get the project off the ground; our total funding goal for the first phase of research is $2,640.00. Any additional money that we raise beyond this goal will be devoted to further research on these existing structures (i.e. moisture analysis, energy usage evaluation) or on new structures; 100% of any donated funds will go directly towards research and testing of straw bale structures in cold regions! Thank you so much for your support, we are grateful to be in partnership with you in this important work.
Jacob Deva Racusin and Ace McArleton of New Frameworks Natural Building, LLC, in collaboration with Ben Graham of Natural Design/Build, are:
- Working to evaluate and improve the practice of straw bale construction to help provide options for high-performance structures without the over-dependence of petro-chemicals such as foam.
- Creating a book/dvd package on natural building techniques in cold climates, to be published by Chelsea Green Publishing in Spring 2012.
- Conducting a series of building performance tests using blower-door and infrared thermography technology to evaluate the integrity of the air-tightness and insulative qualities of our structures.
- Seeking funding of at least $1000.00 to support testing on two structures; our overall project goal is to raise $2,640.00 to conduct testing on six different projects.
The built environment - our homes, offices, shopping malls - play a major role in our culture's energy consumption, and efforts to create more sustainable buildings simply must involve reducing this consumption. To ensure that the strategies that we have developed to reach this goal, such as super-insulation and reduced air leakage, are employed in an effective way, we must understand how our buildings are performing.
The technology needed to understand how our buildings work - and the understanding of what the data is telling us - has become much more accessible in the past decade. We can now perform pressurization tests on structures to find air leaks, and use tools such as thermal imaging cameras (infrared, or IR, thermography) to get a visual picture of how heat is moving into, out of, and around our buildings. We interpret the information provided by these tests with an ever-increasing body of knowledge concerning building science; through a strong understanding of thermodynamics, hydrodynamics, and evaluation of case studies, we can understand why problems occur (or don't occur), and how to continue to improve upon the high-performance designs for tomorrow's buildings.
As natural builders, New Frameworks Natural Builders, LLC (www.newframeworks.com) and Natural Design/Build (www.naturaldesignbuild.us) specialize in the use of minimally-processed, locally-sourced, process-oriented, labor-intensive (as opposed to industrially- or technologically-intensive) materials, such as straw, clay, wood, and stone. Our projects frequently feature clay- and lime-plastered straw bale, straw-clay, wood chip-clay, or cellulose-insulated walls, often wrapping around a timber frame, or sheltered behind siding. To date, there has been very little published research and few comprehensive surveys of existing structures to understand how well they are performing. We have seen enough testing and have enough empirical experience to understand the issues that need to be addressed, and have improved our detailing to respond to these issues. What is needed now is testing to verify the efficacy of our details, and continue to improve upon them.
We are in the process of writing a book/DVD package on natural building, due to be published by Chelsea Green Publishing of White River Junction, Vermont in Spring 2012. In this package, we evaluate all the major components of a building, from design and planning, through all phases of construction, to site integration, from the perspective of a cold-climate natural builder. In this book, we present design strategies and construction details that are responsive to the principles of building science we mention above. We need a stronger body of conclusive data to support this information, and we intend to collect this information ourselves, on real-world projects that we have built, to be able to not only present the data, but give meaningful analysis of how to take this information and apply it to the design and construction of better buildings.
We will be working with an energy auditor to perform blower-door tests in concert with IR thermography on a series of buildings we have built over the past four years. This information will be compiled into formal reports, which we will publish in and reference throughout our book. Furthermore, this information will be disseminated throughout both the natural building communities in particular and the green building communities at large to make the case for the efficacy of this technology. Finally, we will use this information, with our regional colleagues, to continue to improve best common practices in our work.
We have been offered a very reasonable rate of $400.00 per building for all testing and reporting. We have set our funding goal of $1000.00 to ensure minimal funding of at least two structures; our overall project budget is $2,640.00, to fund testing on six projects, plus Kickstarter overhead. We are seeking additional support from our community in funding this research, not only for the good of our project, but in support of high-performance natural building in cold-climates worldwide. Any money that we raise above and beyond this budget will be used to test additional structures in our region and perform further research in to this work; 100% of our funding will be used to advance this goal!
We believe strongly in our work, and believe that the thousands of natural buildings already built are living examples of a solution, a way forward towards a more sustainable built environment. We see this project as a key component in furthering this work, and look forward to sharing the benefits of this research. On behalf of ourselves and the natural building community at large, we thank you for your support and involvement!
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Electronic copy of the reports and data, sent via email or accessible via server.
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PDF file of the primary book chapters referencing the reports, PLUS electronic copy of the reports and data, sent via email or accessible via server.
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1-hour phone, email, or similar remote consultation, PLUS PDF file of the primary book chapters referencing the reports, PLUS electronic copy of the reports and data, sent via email or accessible via server.
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Signed copy of the book/DVD package (outside US, please add $6 S+H), PLUS 1-hour phone, email, or similar remote consultation, PLUS PDF file of the primary book chapters referencing the reports, PLUS electronic copy of the reports and data, sent via email or accessible via server.
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4-hour on-site consultation/training (travel fees/time reduction depending on location beyond 60 mile radius of Montgomery/Montpelier, VT), PLUS signed copy of the book/DVD package (outside US, please add $6 S+H), PLUS PDF file of the primary book chapters referencing the reports, PLUS electronic copy of the reports and data, sent via email or accessible via server.
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8-hour on-site consultation/training (travel fees/time reduction depending on location beyond 60 mile radius of Montgomery/Montpelier, VT), PLUS signed copy of the book/DVD package (outside US, please add $6 S+H), PLUS PDF file of the primary book chapters referencing the reports, PLUS electronic copy of the reports and data, sent via email or accessible via server.
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