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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 You may find that some of the links are broken or out of date, but we will not be updating this site any longer.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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October 2005
Sustainable Concepts )
Design Forward Newsletter October 2005, vol. 31
in this issue
  • A better abode, bale by bale
  • Katrina Damage Highlights Renewed Interest in Renewables
  • Feedback


    Welcome to the October 2005 newsletter from Design Forward. Please take some time to enjoy this month's features.

    Quote of the Month: ""When we mean to build, We first survey the plot , then draw the model; And when we see the figure of the house, Then we must rate the cost of the erection; Which if we find outweighs ability, What do we do then but draw another model The fewer offices, or at last desist To build at all?"
    - William Shakespeare

    Lisa Van Veen

    A better abode, bale by bale

    Steve Miller has heard his share of three little pigs jokes.

    No big, bad wolf is going to blow Millerís straw house down, though. Neither is the Wyoming wind that huffs and puffs through Harmony.

    Building a house from bales of straw is Millerís passion, his entertainment, his responsibility and, some say, his mania.

    ďI think youíre crazy not to build a straw house. With the price of lumber, why would you want to spend the money on lumber when you could build a house cheaper?Ē Miller said. ďPeople think Iím more crazy for having five border collies than for building a straw- bale house.Ē

    The bright-eyed and energetic dogs dominate the unfinished interior of Millerís house and, to cat lovers, would likely be seen as overwhelming. On September nights when the temperature dipped below freezing and the straw house didnít have doors or windows, the dogs kept Miller snug and warm in bed. (Even though the house now is buttoned up, and heat radiates from the floor, Miller said his gut still clenches a little when he sees geese migrating south.)

    Miller reciprocates the companionship. He designed the house with his dogs in mind. The two features that the house was designed and built around were the courtyard - and the doggie door. The courtyard is a couple years from completion. The doggie door is already well-used.

    Article © Micah Sturr
    Picture © Barbara J. Perenic

    Katrina Damage Highlights Renewed Interest in Renewables

    With Hurricane Katrina shutting down an estimated five percent of American oil refining capacity, and oil prices already at an all-time high, investors are starting to look seriously at renewable forms of energy as the next big thing. Share prices in several small American companies producing solar panels and related equipment--including Evergreen Solar, DayStar Technologies, Energy Conversion Devices and Spire--have more than doubled over the past year. Meanwhile, Cypress Semiconductor hopes to raise more than $100 million for a spin-off IPO of its solar subsidiary SunPower this fall. Analysts think that the damage from Katrina will only help these companies raise more money via the public markets and close the cost gap between traditional forms of power and renewable sources.

    "The solar market is projected to grow 35 percent a year for the next three to five years," said Walter V. Nasdeo of Ardour Capital, a New York-based investment bank specializing in energy companies. "As these technologies get better, we're seeing things being developed like solar panels integrated into roofing tiles. That way, they don't look like a science project hanging on your roof."

    Article © Roddy Scheer/E - The Environmental Magazine


    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.

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    Revised October 3, 2005