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Note: Design Forward LLC is proud to have served the Southern California area designing straw bale homes for over 15 years. However, we have moved on to other business ventures and have closed the business as of January 2017. We will not taking any new projects or responding to phone and email requests. This website will be left up as an archive of data for straw bale and design. You may find that some of the links are broken or out of date, but we will not be updating this site any longer. Thank you!
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March 2006 - [Sustainable Concepts] Alternative Insulations and Why Build Sustainable?
Sustainable Concepts )
Design Forward Newsletter March 2006, vol. 36
in this issue
  • Alternative Insulations
  • Why Build Sustainable?
  • Happy Birthday Design Forward
  • Feedback


    Welcome to the March 2006 newsletter from Design Forward. Please take some time to enjoy this month's features.

    Quote of the Month: "The mother art is architecture. Without an architecture of our own we have no soul of our own civilization."
    - Frank Lloyd Wright

    Lisa Van Veen

    Alternative Insulations

    When building a home with standard wood framing there are options for insulating the home that provide natural or more energy efficient options than fiberglass insulation. Here are three different options:

    Cotton Batt Insulation - Same insulation properties as fiberglass but much healthier. Cotton batts use 75% post-production recycled material, denim waste from blue-jean manufacturing, and is 100% recyclable at the end of its useful life.

    Blown-in Cellulose - It is made from shredded newspaper and treated for fire retardancy with chemicals. The R values between blown-in cellulose insulation and fiberglass insulation are the same but the thickness varies. On average, blown-in cellulose insulation is 2-3 inches thinner than fiberglass insulation when both have the same R values. Blown-in cellulose has an R 3.6 to 3.8 per inch compared to fiberglass insulation which has an R-value of about 2.2 to 2.6 per inch.

    Spray Foam Insulation - It is a thermal insulation and air barrier. It expands to 100 times its initial volume within seconds, permanently adhering to the surfaces of the surrounding building materials while completely filling and sealing all joints, crevices and gaps. Provides an effective, continuous air barrier to both outside humid air in cooling climates and inside humid air in heating climates. Icynene is one type of spray foam insulation.

    Picture icynene.com

    Why Build Sustainable?

    Sometimes we can get caught up in all the details of green building and sustainability. It is nice to take a step back a review just why we want to build green and energy efficient homes. Here are five reasons why we should build sustainably:

    1. Limited Resources - traditional homes consume one acre of forest to build.
    2. Less Waste - traditional home creates 3 to 7 tons of waste during the construction process.
    3. Healthier homes - indoor air pollution can be 4 times greater than pollution
    4. Minimize pollution - Buildings account for 49 percent of sulfur dioxide emissions, 25 percent of nitrous oxide emissions, and 10 percent of particulate emissions. Buildings produce 35 percent of the country's carbon dioxide emissions, a key source of climate change.
    5. Efficiency - There are 76 million residential buildings and nearly 5 million commercial buildings in the U.S. today. They consume one-third of all the energy and two-thirds of all electricity.

    Happy Birthday Design Forward

    Design Foward celebrated its 4th year in business on March 1, 2006. Thanks to all of Design Forward's clients and subscribers for the contributions you have made to make this organization a success. We look forward to moving into the future with even more success.


    Design Forward works toward promoting Sustainable Design. If you know of a project that should be featured, please contact us. Let us know why you think it should be featured and give us a basic intro to the project, the sustainable elements and any websites or contact information.

    If you would like to submit a fun and/or entertaining quote about architecture, building, the environment or such, send it in! If it at all possible, include the author.

    If you have any other feedback concerning this publication, please feel free to send an email or use the form.

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    Revised June 1, 2010