2007 - [Sustainable Concepts] Fair Trade and Rammed Earth
2007, vol. 47
Welcome to the February 2007 newsletter from Design Forward.
Please take some time to enjoy this month's features.
Quote of the Month: "If we had no winter, the spring would
not be so pleasant."
- Anne Bradstreet
Lisa A. Swan
Rammed earth, also known as "pise de terre", is an
ancient building technique used to construct such historic
structures as the Great Wall of China, Hannibal's watchtowers
and 820 b.c. structures in ancient Carthage.
Interest in rammed earth was renewed in this country
by federal government architect and engineer Thomas
Hibben in the 1930's. He supervised the building of
seven rammed earth homes as part of a federal farmstead
project in Mount Olive, Alabama, in 1936. Those seven
homes are still inhabited today.
Stabilized rammed earth homes and commercial projects
have been increasing in popularity in Australia since
the 1970's. By 1990 almost 20% of all new homes built
in the community on Margaret River were rammed earth.
Concern over energy efficiency and environmental responsibility
have turned the attention of the world toward ancient
building techniques such as adobe and rammed earth.
Benefits of Rammed Earth Construction
Energy Efficient - Two-foot thick monolithic rammed
earth walls provide high thermal mass, which translates
into energy savings. Both cooling and heating energy
requirements are minimized, so owners for centuries
to come will enjoy the comfort and savings.
Earth Friendly - Rammed earth construction uses no wood.
Crusher waste, a road building by-product, is used in
the rammed earth mixture. Only 6% of the rammed earth
mixture is cement; the rest is just earth and water.
Low Maintenance - Rammed earth walls can be left exposed
with a clear sealer which allows the natural color of
the walls to show through. The natural look eliminates
the need for paint or other continual maintenance. The
interior walls may be finished in a variety of ways
such as smooth plaster or mud plaster. Natural exterior
walls with adobe interior walls make a particularly
pleasing combination. Exterior walls can be left exposed
or stuccoed in your choice of color.
Noise Reduction - The thickness of the walls makes the
rammed earth home a quiet haven, no matter how noisy
Strength and Safety - These walls don't burn! They are
bullet and impact-proof too. Rammed earth walls actually
get stronger as they age.
Article & Picture © Huston Rammed Earth, Inc.
Fair Trade Chocolate for Valentines Day
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner I though
I would take a moment to remind everyone this is a great
time to buy Fair Trade and Organic Chocolates.
Why it’s important?
Most of our chocolate comes from the Ivory Coast region
of West Africa, where cocoa production is an enormous
part of the economy. In Ghana, 40 percent of the country’s
export revenues come from the sale of cocoa. Unfortunately,
very little of the profit goes to the farmers who grow
the cocoa beans. Cocoa farmers receive about a penny
for a candy bar selling for 60 cents.
In fact, the difficulty in making a living at cocoa
farming has spawned an increase in child and even slave
labor drawn from poor neighboring countries such as
Mali, Burkina Faso, Benin and Togo. Children and other
workers are forced to work long days picking and processing
cocoa beans (it takes 400 of these pods to make just
one pound of chocolate). Very few of the children have
the opportunity to attend school.
Fair Trade cocoa offers farmers an opportunity to make
a real living. The Fair Trade Certified production criteria
guarantee a minimum price and insure that no child or
forced labor is used.
Article © New American Dream
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