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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 You may find that some of the links are broken or out of date, but we will not be updating this site any longer.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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May 2008 - [Sustainable Concepts] Hemcrete and CFL Recycling
Sustainable Concepts )
Design Forward Newsletter May 2008, vol. 62
in this issue
  • Hemcrete
  • The Next Step for Energy Efficient Lighting Products
  • Feedback


    Welcome to the May 2008 newsletter from Design Forward. Please take some time to enjoy this month's features.

    Quote of the Month: ""When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world."
    -John Muir

    Lisa A. Swan


    Hemcrete® is a blend of a special lime based binder (Tradical® HB) and specially prepared hemp shiv (Tradical® HF). Together these form a sustainable bio-composite construction material that combats climate change by capturing carbon and delivering high performance airtight, insulating walls. The carbon capture environmental benefits of Tradical® Hemcrete offer an immediate way to combat climate change.

    Low emission, efficient, and sustainably produced building materials offer one such technological advancement, and this pioneering British lime and hemp system is proving to be an environmentally-friendly alternative to conventional construction. This proprietary system, which relies on hemp fiber and lime binder, is being used to construct seamless walls and to insulate floors and roofs. The resulting buildings are thermally efficient, attractive, pest-resistant, fire-resistant, and durable, and these nontoxic, all-natural materials contain no harmful chemical. Unlike typical new construction materials, hemp and lime are breathable, which discourages harmful mold growth while providing better air quality for the building's occupants.

    In addition to the reduced impact of heating and cooling, the production of hemp and lime has a lower environmental impact than that of comparable building materials. Industrial hemp is a fast-growing crop that requires minimal irrigation, and almost all parts of the plant are usable. Like most plants, hemp also converts carbon dioxide into oxygen during its growing cycle, and with a maturation cycle of only 14 weeks it is a rapidly renewable resource. The other key component, lime, is an ancient binder and render that has been used in construction for thousands of years.

    Article and Picture © American Lime Technology (AMT)

    The Next Step for Energy Efficient Lighting Products

    The Product Policy Institute, the California Product Stewardship Council, the Northwest Product Stewardship Council and the British Columbia Product Stewardship Council praise retailers and consumers for promoting the switch to energy efficient light bulbs as an important way to reduce climate disrupting greenhouse gases. While we enthusiastically support the use of lower energy bulbs, many contain mercury, a toxic element that must be managed properly at the end-of-life. As associations primarily representing and advocating for local governments, we call on product manufacturers to take the important next step by creating and financing convenient, environmentally safe recycling systems for toxic mercury-containing compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs).

    The problem: toxic products. While increasing the use of energy efficient lighting addresses one environmental problem, selling mercury-containing lights without ensuring environmentally responsible end-of-life disposal creates new environmental problems. When disposed of improperly, fluorescent lights and other mercury-containing products may contaminate ground and surface waters and the fish that inhabit those waters, and therefore, the humans who consume those fish. Mercury is a potent neurotoxin, so the release of mercury into the environment is a critical public health threat.

    The solution: producer responsibility. A comprehensive and integrated approach to promoting the use of energy efficient lighting requires safe disposal at the end of their useful life. We believe that companies that make money by selling toxic products need to be part of the solution. The private sector has far greater capacity to design a convenient, efficient, and cost-effective fluorescent light collection program than local or state government. We believe that the most successful programs are those driven by product manufacturers, where recycling costs are internalized in the product price, similar to the mandates of the European Union's Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) directive. However, we also believe that retailers have a critical role in creating convenience for the consumer, as there is no better option to ensure high recycling rates than take-back programs at the point of sale.

    Article © Product Policy Institute.


    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