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     The TLS Blog Has a New Domain

The Last Straw Blog has changed it’s domain from tls.buildearth.org to www.thelaststrawblog.org.  There are many practical reasons for doing this and we hope by doing it now, early on in our existence, it will reduce the effort and any unintended consequences for our readers.  If this is your first time visiting, you will never notice the change.  For all of our regular visitors, we hope to make the transition seamless, but please let us know if we have missed something.  We can be reached at admin@thelaststrawblog.org. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we move forward. The Last Straw Blog

     Sill Pan Design Detail – TLS #51

Slope pan flashing to outside. Included in TLS #49 (Myths and Realities, Spring 2005) was a discussion of ways to deal with moisture at the bottom of windows. David Eisenberg shared a written design detail for a pan under the window to carry water away from rather than down the wall. We wanted to share a drawing of this detail and David kindly provided one for us to share in Tech Tips. Here’s the portion of the discussion in which David details this design idea. “Protecting the bales beneath the windows requires that you catch the water under the window and make sure it gets all the way out of the wall. In other words, ideally, you would have a pan of so

     Lime Mortars DVD Review

What is the ratio of your mix? Let your sand tell you! This article is original content and has not appeared in The Last Straw. St. Astier Natural Limes, a producer of hydraulic lime products from France, is offering a set of DVD videos called The Master Stroke DVD Tutorial Series.  The Master Stroke is a 4-disc series beginning with lime mortars.  Other discs cover plastering and rendering with lime, and building and pointing with lime.  In this article we will review the first in the series, Making Lime Mortars. The content of the DVD is laid out very clearly and is easy to follow.  The quality of the video is very polished. The main purpose of the DVD is to show the construction worker

     A Straw-bale Home in Idaho – TLS #55

This article originally appeared in TLS #55 and was the feature article in that issue. by Wayne Bingham and Colleen Smith – Idaho, USA Our interest in straw-bale construction grew out of our concern for energy efficiency. Our research into building energy efficiency grew into an awareness of sustainable building practices. An urge to build an energy-efficient home of materials that are sustainable grew as we explored these issues. As we examined the site conditions for our home in Idaho, we found prevalent winds came from the southwest, passive solar orientation was due south, and views were predominantly southeast toward the Teton mountain range. The homestead to the west anchored the place visually and the rolling grass and grain fields to the north and east held their own

     Planted Filter: A Modern Reed-bed System – TLS #58

This article originally appeared in TLS #58. by Rene Kilian – Denmark Save money on your black and grey water while protecting the environment! Reeds and iris clean the wastewater in the planted filter. All properties without sewage facilities in rural areas of Europe must meet minimum standards for wastewater treatment. It can be expensive joining on to the main sewage lines. A planted filter’ – a modern kind of reed-bed system with vertical waterflow – has low operating costs and is an inexpensive alternative. Approximately 30 of these filters have been built in Denmark. The systems are planted with wetland plants, and occupy around 16m2 per dwelling. The system complies wi

     A Bit About Bale Walls

Currently in rough draft form, this information is the beginning preparation for an article or perhaps two that will appear in a future issue of The Last Straw journal with the theme “All About Bales.” Your comments and input are welcome. by Joyce Coppinger, Managing Editor/Publisher, The Last Straw Journal Wall Structures The structural methods used for the design and construction of bale walls are generally of two types: loadbearing and non-loadbearing. Stated another way – bales supporting the weight of the roof and any snow or other roof loads, and any post-and-beam or modified post-and-beam structure with the bales used as infill for insulation only. Timberframe is the post-and-beam structure of choice in most countries. Posts of conventional milled 4×4, 4×6 and 6×6 wood; lodge poles, timber bamboo and other types of materials have been used. Modified post-and-beam structures are wide-ranging and diverse – anything fro

     Basics and Benefits of the Use of Straw Bales for Building

This article does not appear in The Last Straw and is original content. Prepared by Joyce Coppinger, Managing Editor/Publisher, The Last Straw Journal 402.483.5135, <thelaststraw@thelaststraw.org> www.thelaststraw.org INSULATION The R-value used for straw-bale walls is R-30. Most conventional stick-built construction has an R-value of around 15 with as high as R-30 in ceilings. Testing under controlled conditions allows the researcher to estimate the thermal resistance to heat flow through the material. This is expressed as an R-value. (R =

     Fire in a House With Straw Bale Walls

This article is original content and has not appeared in TLS. No, this is not the house. We don't have a picture of a bale house on fire! This story is a reluctant one about a house comprised of both wood-framed and straw bale walls lost to a fire. The structure was built over a longer period of time than most main-stream homes.  The different phases incorporated the most appropriate materials at the time for the owners. We are excluding specific reference to the owners and the location of the building due to privacy concerns. For this article we will say that the building is in the central U.S. at approximately 8000 ft elevation and the Owner’s name is Bob. In the end, it

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