Design of Straw Bale Buildings: The State of the Art

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For the first time, a design manual for practicing professionals, as well as teachers, is made available, drawing on the collective experience of the most senior and respected figures in the rapidly-emerging field of straw bale construction.

This is the only book that provides truly useful information to architects, engineers, building officials and builders who want to design intelligently with plastered straw bales.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780976491118
  • Publisher: Green Building Press
  • Publication date: 9/7/2006
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 8.20 (w) x 10.60 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Bruce King is a registered structural engineer in private practice in San Rafael, California. He is the author of Buildings of Earth and Straw: Structural Design for Straw Bale and Rammed Earth Architecture (1996) and Making Better Concrete: Guidelines to Using Fly Ash for Higher Quality, Eco-Friendly Structures (2006). He is founder and director of the nonprofit Ecological Building Network and co-founder, with his wife Sarah Weller King, of Green Building Press. He lives in San Rafael, California.
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Table of Contents

Caveats     xiii
Preface     xv
About the Authors     xvii
Introduction     xi
Straw and Bales     1
The Straw Bale Family Tree     7
Historic Precursors to Straw Bale Construction
Some New Offshoots Of Straw Bale Construction
Other Kinds of Straw Bales
Plastic and Other Baled Materials
Straw Panels, Blocks, and Lumber
Retrofit: the Bale Wrap
Proprietary Straw Bale Building Systems
Plaster and Reinforcing   Mark Aschheim   Kevin Donahue   Kelly Lerner     19
What is Plaster?
The Functions of Plaster Skins
Moisture Control
Thermal Resistance and Thermal Storage
Fire Control
Protection from Insects, Rodents and Ruminants
Structural Behavior
Finishes and Aesthetics
The Components of Plaster
Types of Plasters
Cement Plasters
Lime Plasters
Earth Plasters (Clay Binder)
Key Structural Properties of Plasters
Plaster Bonding
Compressive Strength
Modulus of Rupture (MOR)
Modulus of Elasticity (MOE)
General Conclusions about Structural Qualities of Plasters
Reinforcing for Plasters
Fiber Reinforcements
Mesh Reinforcements
Summary of Recent Mesh and Anchorage Tests
Wire Tests
Mesh Anchorage Tests
Recommended Stapled Mesh Details
The Role of Plasters in Moisture Control
Durability and Maintenance: Erosion, Coatings, and Repairability
Environmental Considerations
Methods of Application
Preparationand Curing
Structure   Mark Aschheim   Kevin Donahue   David Mar   Dan Smith     57
Introduction to Structural Behavior
A First Look
Types of Wall Assemblies
Common Practice with all Straw Bale Building
Fear of Water
Basic Details
Flat or On Edge?
General Loading Considerations
Structural Model of a Plastered Straw Bale Wall
The Transformed Section
The Sliced Transformed Section
Vertical Load
Wall Behavior and Failure Modes
Summary of Test Results
Tests on Unplastered Bales
Tests on Unplastered Bale Walls
Tests on Plastered Bales
Tests on Plastered Bale Walls
Summary of Ultimate Wall Loads
Design Methodology
Creep, Initial Settlement, and Precompression
Creep Test Summary and Conclusions
Out-of-Plane Load
Two-Phased Wall Behavior Under Out-of-Plane Load
Pre-Cracking Wall Behavior Under Out-of-Plane Load
Post-Cracking Wall Behavior Under Out-of-Plane Load
Example Seven-Step Calculation
Summary of Recent Tests
Projectile Loads - What Happens in Hurricanes and Tornadoes?
In-Plane Load
Introduction to In-Plane Loads
General Considerations for In-Plane Wall Design
Wall Layout
Load Path and Design Philosophy
Selecting Wall Details and Materials
Fasteners and Anchorage
Summary Review of Cyclic In-Plane Load Tests
Hysteretic Curves From Cyclic Wall Tests
Wall A Earth-Plastered Wall / Light Detailing
Wall B Earth-Plastered Wall / Medium Detailing
Wall C Earth-Plastered Wall / Heavy Detailing
Wall D Lime-Cement-Plastered Wall / Light Detailing
Wall E Lime-Cement-Plastered Wall / Medium Detailing
Wall F Lime-Cement-Plastered Wall / Heavy Detailing
Wall G Lime-Cement-Plastered Wall with Medium Detailing and 2:1 Aspect Ratio
Design Recommendations
Design Recommendations - Final Thoughts
The Seventh Inning Stretch     132
Moisture     133
Moisture, Materials and Straw Bales   John Straube
About Water
The Water Molecule and its States
Water's Interaction with Materials
Moisture Storage and Material Response
Moisture Storage Regimes
Practical Implications
Moisture Problems
The Moisture Balance
Moisture Sources and Wetting
Moisture Sinks and Drying
Moisture Storage
Moisture Control Practices John Straube
Rain Control
Building Shape & Mass
Rainwater on Walls
Ground and Surface Water
Water Vapor Control
Air Barriers
Diffusion Control and Vapor Barriers
Moisture-Control Layers
Building Papers and Housewraps
Waterproof and Vapor Barrier Membranes
Wetting During Construction
Moisture and Decomposition in Straw: Implications for Straw Bale Construction   Matthew Summers
Moisture Experiments
Moisture Management in Straw Bale Buildings
Fire   Bob Theis     173
Bales Burn Badly
Laboratory Test Results
Flame Spread and Smoke Density
Still, It Burns - Field Reports
Fire Safety Measures
Published Straw Bale Fire Tests
Insulation   Nehemiah Stone     185
What is Thermal Performance?
R-Values of Wall Systems
Factors Affecting the R-value
R-value is Dynamic, Not Static
More Isn't Always that Much Better
Straw Bales Aren't Bricks
What About Straw Bale Ceilings, Arches, and Floors?
How Much Does a Straw Bale Structure Save Energy and Sequester Carbon?
Acoustics   Rene Dalmeijer     195
Review of tests
Recipe for Straw Bale Wall Acoustic Isolation
Room Acoustics
Sound Transmission Class Examples
Insects and Other Uninvited Guests     203
Other Uninvited Guests
Details and Design   Kelly Lerner   Dan Smith     209
Introduction to the Design Checklist
Building Codes
Exterior Moisture Exposure
Interior Climate (Moisture Exposure)
Basic Guidelines for Moisture Control
Use and Durability
Basic Guidelines for Mechanical Durability
Structural Requirements
Environmental Considerations
Labor and Construction Methods
Construction Scheduling
Financial Considerations
Codes and Standards   Martin Hammer     221
The Status of Straw Bale Codes and Permitting Worldwide
A General View
A Worldwide Code Survey of Straw Bale Codes and Permitting
Central America
Czech Republic
The Netherlands
New Zealand
Saudi Arabia
South Africa
South America
United Kingdom
United States
Where Do Straw Bale Codes Go From Here?
Table of Straw Bale Building Codes
Current Draft Amendment to California Building Code
Tools and Resources     257
About Green Building Press     258
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