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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 You may find that some of the links are broken or out of date, but we will not be updating this site any longer.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!
Newsletter Background
September 2004
Sustainable Concepts )
Design Forward Newsletter September 2004
in this issue
  • Award Winning Straw Bale Residence
  • Global Warming to Worsen Heat Waves in America and Europe
  • A Source of Renewable Energy
  • Feedback

  • Greetings!

    Welcome to the September 2004 newsletter from Design Forward. Please take some time to enjoy this month's features.

    Quote of the Month: "What is the use of a house if you haven't got a tolerable planet to put it on?" - Henry David Thoreau

    Lisa Van Veen

    Award Winning Straw Bale Residence
    Straw Bale

    This award winning Tucson Arizona home designed by Radius Associates uses both straw bales and Rasta walls. The architect Robert Gay stated, "the most fun thing about the Mullaneys' house has been that it seems to turn people on at multiple levels -- they are curious about the bale and Rastra walls, solar hot water, rainwater harvesting, etc, but they also like the designed diversity and uniqueness of the various spaces." The 2436 square foot house uses low-e glazing, R-45 ceiling insulation, radiant heat barrier, solar hot water, and energy efficient lighting and appliances. The house's estimated energy performance is calculated at 7% better than the (optional) Sustainable Energy Standard (the "Civano code").

    Placement on the site also strongly influenced the design. Floor levels are set to make equal volumes of cutting and filling, to eliminate hauling or importing soil. The driveway was set on a ridge to reduce cutting or filling, only light grading was needed. As for the landscape, the disturbed area is minimal and the untouched desert area is maximized. There will be no grass and natural growing vegetation is preserved.

    Article Lisa Van Veen. Picture Radius Associates.

    Global Warming to Worsen Heat Waves in America and Europe
    Global Warming

    Heat waves like those that have hit Paris and Chicago in recent years are likely to get worse, roasting more and more cities with ever-higher temperatures, climate researchers predicted.

    While some may like it hot, the forecast means misery for many, and hotter weather can affect crops, drive up fuel prices and can kill the old and weak. The heat wave that hit France a year ago killed an estimated 15,000 people. A similar heat wave that hit the U.S. Midwest last year damaged the corn and soy crops, and 739 people died in a head wave that broiled Chicago in 1995.

    Using a new computer model that takes into account increasing levels of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, Gerald Meehl and Claudia Tebaldi of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado, found heat waves might become more common as global warming heats the Earth.

    Article PlanetArk. Picture emagazine.com

    A Source of Renewable Energy

    In the early stages of the Green Energy program, Georgia Power will use methane gas created by the decay of landfill waste as its primary form of biomass. The technology for collecting and using landfill gas is well-developed, making methane one of the most efficient and low-cost sources of renewable energy.

    Landfill gas is largely composed of methane and carbon dioxide, which must be burned to avoid hazards of accumulation. By burning methane in boilers, Georgia Power produces steam for power generation. Depending upon the size and age of a landfill, generators at landfill gas sites tend to produce between three and eight megawatts of electric power. A five-megawatt plant would produce approximately 39 million kilowatt-hours per year - enough to supply about 3,200 homes.

    Article Georgia Power


    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 September 6, 2004