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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 You may find that some of the links are broken or out of date, but we will not be updating this site any longer.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 2007 - [Sustainable Concepts] Water Filtering and the Friends Community School
Sustainable Concepts )
Design Forward Newsletter July 2007, vol. 52
in this issue
  • Friends Community School
  • Water Filtering
  • Feedback


    Welcome to the July 2007 newsletter from Design Forward. Please take some time to enjoy this month's features.

    Quote of the Month: "Between earth and earth's atmosphere, the amount of water remains constant; there is never a drop more, never a drop less. This is a story of circular infinity, of a planet birthing itself."
    - Linda Hogan

    Lisa A. Swan

    Friends Community School

    The Friends Community School, a Quaker-based institution located in College Park, Maryland, is building their new classroom facility entirely out of straw bales.

    This fall, the Friends Community School, a 21-year-old College Park-based institution, will move into an enterprising new facility near Greenbelt, Maryland, less than ten miles to the east: a 27,000-square-foot, $5.7 million "green" structure built entirely out of straw bales. The building, which will sit on a 17-acre plot of land and house upwards of 200 students, will be one of only two in Prince George's County to be certified under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building System, the U.S. Green Building Council's benchmark for the design and operation of eco-friendly structures.

    Fitted with such fixtures as radiant floor heating, waterless urinals and a "living," rain-sustained and vegetation-covered roof - not to mention the bales themselves, which provide energy-retaining insulation - the building will be composed almost entirely of sustainable materials. Low and slightly curved, tucked against a patch of adjacent wetlands, its walls are constructed from thick rectangles of locally grown straw, stacked one atop the other and secured together with mud. The structure's lime-plastered exterior resembles a southwestern-style adobe in both texture and color - a smooth, pale-brown hue. Wide windows and open porticoes fill the classrooms and the large gymnasium space with natural light.

    Visit Friends Community School

    Article Rachel Adams. Photo Friends Community School

    Water Filtering

    Now that summer is here, we should be drinking more water than ever. But how do you know if your water is clean?

    Most water filters are not designed to remove a high enough percentage of certain types of pollutants. Simple carbon filters and many other types of filters do not purify water; they can only filter out large particles. Carbon filters remove mostly chlorine, and some other harmful chemicals. They do not have a significant affect on total dissolved solids.

    In general, total dissolved solids are a combination of minerals, metals (including lead), calcium and magnesium. In highly populated and/or industrial areas, these substances found in water create mineral imbalances (such as high levels of sodium) and heavy metals.

    To remove metals from our water, it is necessary to remove the minerals as well: they cannot be separated.

    A Reverse Osmosis System can remove 99.75% of total dissolved solids. Not all RO systems work the same, check the documentation for information on the distilled quality or the water.

    If you cannot afford a water purification system, look into purchasing purified water from a local grocery store or health food store dispensing machine. These vending machines often charge $0.25 per gallon and you provide your own container - glass containers are preferable to plastic. Whether you are purchasing bottled or from a water dispensing machine, "purified water" is preferable to "filtered water."

    Article Lisa A. Swan
    Reference article at http://www.h3environmental.com/html/products/water_facts.html


    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