Sustainable building
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Sustainable building & design

Strawbale building is a sustainable way to utilize resource and build sound structures, community buildings, houses, etc.,. Local material including rock found in the area, dirt or gravel for mixing adobe or cement for foundations and floors, and other materials including local wood, vegetable material from plants are all good resouces and save embodied energy and material processing cost. Local materials are a sustinable way to build integrating local land planning and environment windows to preserve a sustainable community plan. Weather issues involving sun, wind, rain, terrain, and detailed experience data forge a full land use center. Sustainable building techniques involve using local sustainable techniques, building with the sun, utilizing passive design, implement nature preservation techniques (wood jack leg fences, covering outdoor food sources from animals (garden, compost) making room for animals to roam with many exit opportunities, outlets) passive lighting, passive heating and cooling, seeking 75% energy-free house, using residential solar energy, wind energy, and micro-hydro energy for the energy source. Utilizing LED lighting, energy efficient areators and showerheads, as well as post & beam building techniques, passive solar interior walls, skylights and light tubes for dark areas (closets, bathrooms and hallways.)

Strawbale building

Strawbale building
is done by stacking strawbales on top of each other and impaling with iron rod. Staggering the second layer strengthens the wall and corners. Stainless steel wire to bind together bales ensures a solidly built wall.
Foundations made out of crushed rock, bags filled with sand or dirt, or compressed dirt are all acceptable foundations as well as traditional foundations like concrete. Foundations should be at least the width of the strawbales or larger to allow proper drainage. Use of a vapor barrier under the first course of strawbales or covering the first course prevents leakage and creates a moisture barrier. Foundations should be level.

Passive lighting

Passive lighting is a good way to provide sustainable energy-saving lighting for your structure. Long roof overhangs prevent hot, summer sun while allowing the low winter sun to light the inside of the house. Windows placed high on the walls create more light and thermal warmth in cold, winter climates while allowing ventilation in hot weather. Overhangs can also be placed on the first level of a two-level house for shading in hot summer months. Skylights provide even more lighting for dark areas like hallways and bathrooms, closets and dining rooms.

In today's society, we have become dependent on lighting to the point it has changed our lives. We no more sleep "with" the Earth but rather tend instead to be "wired" up all the time. We lack the insight to see the natural beauty of living with the Earth and instead are living on it. For example an enclosed house, regular lighting and air conditioning "choke the realness" out of your environment. This tends to numb your senses and drain your spirit. Passive lighting is a positive outlet to save energy, use less lighting and allow you to tune in to surroundings a bit better and cools the house the natural way. This is a normal procedure which architects have bypassed to save money and time in construction. This makes "Cardboard" tract houses basically that look "funny" or out place, do not last as long, and scar the environment. Look for passive design in popular periodicals like Architectural Digest or the link below.

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Passive heating and cooling

Passive heating and cooling building techniques creates long-term sustainable energy and saves precious resources. Passive heating by integrating large windows to create thermal heat, warm thermal masses inside the house. Large fireplaces made out of stone or clay/adobe, walls painted to absorb heat will passively heat while ceiling fans circulate heat downward. Heat walls can be created as well. In cooler months, fans ventilate hotter air through high windows and out of the house. Passive heating can also be achieved by insulated solar heaters for liquid floor heating (hydronic). Gravity fed systems passively circulate liquid to warm floors inside the house.
Passive cooling can be done by digging underneath the house and utilizing cooler underground air fill chambers and using passive vents to cool living areas inside the house through passive circulation practice. Passive cooling is also achieved by planting bushes around house to create "thermal break". Passive cooling can include a number of options including passive vent fans located in the upper ares of the house, long overhangs to prevent hot summer sun, and building the outside of the house to integrate in hot climates (cooler paint, wind orientation and direction, large trees, afternoon underground breaks).

Passive cooling can be achieved by creating underground chambers which cool air. This method of cooling is cost effective, not harmful to the environment, and is a natural way to cool off. The air cools in the chamber overnight, and is circulated through the house during the heat of the day. Passive cooling is using natural building techniques for sustainable building design in inclimate areas with extreme temperatures.

Sleeping with the Earth

Poeple don't live "with" the Earth anymore. Poeple usually leave lights on a lot more than necessary, furthering them from their surroundings. Keeping them from nature. Like animals we are meant to sleep by night and be active during the day. We are basically sometimes instinctively nocturnal according to our senses and rythms. Sleeping outside is very good for our senses as sleeping inside, closed off from the outside, numbs us from our nature. Building a bedroom outside, sheltered from rain and with efficient heating (possibly hydronic or convection), is one way to experience "living" nature.


A different view