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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 You may find that some of the links are broken or out of date, but we will not be updating this site any longer.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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July 2006 - [Sustainable Concepts] Eco-brokers and Straw Walling
Sustainable Concepts )
Design Forward Newsletter July 2006, vol. 40
in this issue
  • York Eco Office using Straw Wall System
  • Eco-brokers
  • Feedback


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

    Quote of the Month: "Never be afraid to try something new. Remember that a lone amateur built the ark. A large group of professionals built the Titanic."
    - unknown

    On a personal note, my name has officially changed to Lisa A. Swan. All future correspondence will be from my new name, please update your files and address books. Thank you.

    Lisa A. Swan

    York Eco Office using Straw Wall System

    An environmentally-friendly office in York which will be the biggest building of its kind in Europe is starting to take shape. By the time the new Eco-Depot at Hazel Court in James Street is finished later this year it will have photovoltaic panels on its roof to generate electricity, a system to harvest rainwater and its own renewable energy source.

    Contractors Mowlem are on site using a crane to winch into place prefabricated wall panels, made from Yorkshire-grown straw, on to a timber framework. The panels, the ModCell, were made at a farm in Easingwold by compressing the straw and then rendering the resulting boards, which incorporate doors and windows, with lime.

    The straw wall panels have a precision engineered wood frame, Eurban, which in itself is an innovation in that the wood is a form of glu-lam that derives its raw material from previously trashed lumber from a dimensional saw mill. The frames are filled with modified straw bales, selected for density, freeness from dust and trash, a specific moisture content and with a low background level of mould spores. The whole frame is then pinned with wooden dowel and rebar to create a rigid panel that as a structural member can support itself and 3 stories in an installation. A slurry coat of lime render on top of mesh completes the panel ready for shipment to the construction site. Window and door openings are made from the same glu-lam lumber to take conventional door and glazing units as required. Once installed the panels are finished in a top coat of lime render along with appropriate internal and external fascia to suit design, local code and available materials.

    The walls of the finished building will be so highly- insulated they will be three times more energy efficient than is required by current building regulations. The next stage of construction of the £8m building will be the roof. A wind turbine will help to cut heating bills by 40 per cent and the building's sustainable design, which maximizes the use of natural daylight and ventilation, is expected to save £46,000 in energy bills each year. Under-floor heating and sensors on windows, to detect high temperature or CO2 levels and open accordingly, are other measures to make the building's use of energy more efficient.

    Rainwater will be harvested and recycled for use washing depot vehicles, rather than having to use clean tap water. The office will be the new base for York Council's commercial services department and will include rooms for training on sustainable building design and educational visits by schools and other groups.

    Article © Mark Harrison and Julie Hemmings / Yorkshire Post. Picture © Mark Harrison.


    As awareness of alternative building materials and residential energy sources increases among Chaffee County, Colorado consumers, two local real estate brokers will be ready to meet the market.

    Terri Dunn of Piñon Real Estate Group recently completed online certification to become the Chaffee County’s first eco-broker. Kathleen Nelson of United Country Premier Brokers is working to finish the same online curriculum offered at ecobroker.com

    As eco-brokers, they will represent “green” homes – built with materials such as straw bale and tires – and energy efficient homes that use solar or other sources for power. They will also help buyers find parcels suited for alternative homes and help connect them with local green builders.

    Article © Arkansas Valley Publishing. Picture © ECOBROKER International.


    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