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Rock, Paper, Scissors

Posted August 26, 2008 8:00 AM

Reading recently about the house built primarily of paper in 1924 in Rockport, MA, started me thinking about other available materials that could substitute for more commonly used ones. In this instance, paper was used to substitute for whatever materials could have been exploited to fabricate walls, furniture, and other interior components of a residence. A two-part question: What would be your one material of choice for application in residential design and construction? What would be your one material of choice if your selection was restricted to resource availability in the geographic area in which you reside? Oh yes, please tell me why you made your choice.

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#1

Re: Rock, Paper, Scissors

08/27/2008 3:11 AM

Hay bails is getting a lot of press.

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#2
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Re: Rock, Paper, Scissors

08/27/2008 4:40 AM

Yes, constructing with hay bales looks like it gives insulation & soundproofing as well as being sustainable and readily available. I believe that wheat bales are the best to use as other plants tend to rot faster but all of my knowledge of this has come from TV shows so I could easily be wrong.

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#3
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Re: Rock, Paper, Scissors

08/27/2008 7:18 AM

I recall a similar TV program. I'm unable to recall the title, but I believe it was on PBS some years ago and discussed alternative building methods in the southwest (Arizona, New Mexico, etc.)--that program mentioned straw bales covered with stucco. It also mentioned rammed-earth, where forms for walls were erected and layers of dirt mixed with portland cement were soaked and packed. Both methods resulted in thick walls with high insulation value, but not very much was discussed as to costs compared to conventional building methods. Neither was it discussed how they fair in a strong earthquake.

To address the question, it is difficult to select ONE material if you are speaking of what is usually considered a house--you can hardly make windowpanes out of mud. But for what I've been seeking to do I look forward to more answers, since it so far seems the most likely, available single material is hand- or machine-made mud/adobe bricks. At least in West Africa.

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#4

Re: Rock, Paper, Scissors

08/27/2008 10:33 AM

Could we start baling Kudzu?

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#5
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Re: Rock, Paper, Scissors

08/27/2008 4:45 PM

Kudzu, eh? What is the moisture content? Seriously, wouldn't kudzu be useful as biomass? Is it possible/effective to convert it to ethanol?or is it just a pipe dream?Maybe I could just smoke it!

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#10
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Re: Rock, Paper, Scissors

08/28/2008 7:28 PM

Did you follow the blog on alternative energy symposium in Schenectady, NY. I vote for Kudzu for ethanol production also.

It is what we are sometimes a good at, turning a screwup into a winner.

I believe that the digesters we made back in my Mother Earth Hippie days were on the right track and can now be improved upon for better efficiency of scale.

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#20
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Re: Rock, Paper, Scissors

12/26/2008 11:53 AM

Actually Kudzu is quite nutritious as animal feed and harvesting as such may provide needed employment to some sectors and a viable end product too.

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#6

Re: Rock, Paper, Scissors

08/28/2008 1:12 PM

I'd want some stucco or adobe to cover the inside/outside, but layers of discarded tires* would be my choice.

*In Great Britain and some commonwealth nations, these would be tyres. Please don't ask me why...

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#7
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Re: Rock, Paper, Scissors

08/28/2008 1:41 PM

Tires used in what fashion? I presume cut up, but to what size pieces? Perhaps cut up for shingles? Hey, I might be able to use that Idea--I wonder what the supply of used tires/tyres in West Africa is like? Um, I'm getting a message... Yep I'm screwy--what do you do about the steel belts? Are things so pathetic that someone is trying to recover the steel?

Also, is it such a great idea to make houses out of stuff the people might have to eat or feed to the livestock? I mean, Hansel and Gretel found an edible house once and look what nearly happened to them...

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#8
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Re: Rock, Paper, Scissors

08/28/2008 4:16 PM

Stacked up, like the pic below...

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#9
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Re: Rock, Paper, Scissors

08/28/2008 7:13 PM

Very Cool! Where is this, and where would I find out more?

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#12
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Re: Rock, Paper, Scissors

08/29/2008 11:04 AM

Do a Google search using "tire house" as the keywords, and I think you'll find all sorts of sites about them. Dennis Weaver (Chester from Gunsmoke, Marshal McLeod from the show of the same name) was a huge proponent of this type of construction before his death. It's recycling at its' finest, high insulation value walls, and virtually termite-proof.

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#21
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Re: Rock, Paper, Scissors

12/26/2008 11:56 AM

Is that a mosquito factory?

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#11
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Re: Rock, Paper, Scissors

08/29/2008 4:50 AM

"*In Great Britain and some commonwealth nations, these would be tyres. Please don't ask me why... "

It's because we speak English.

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#13
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Re: Rock, Paper, Scissors

08/29/2008 11:30 AM

Ahh...that would expla...wait, you DO?!? So, what's the difference between a long "ì" and a "y" then (other than the shape of the letter)? When you work too many hours in a stretch, does that make you tyred?

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#14
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Re: Rock, Paper, Scissors

08/29/2008 11:36 AM

Hey, I never said it was logical, I think we've stolen words from so many old languages that we've lost track of what should work where.

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#15
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Re: Rock, Paper, Scissors

08/29/2008 1:03 PM

You sure hit the hammer with the nail head that time!

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#22
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Re: Rock, Paper, Scissors

12/26/2008 11:58 AM

So you say

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#16

Re: Rock, Paper, Scissors

09/03/2008 8:45 PM

I think that if there may be a way to interr used packaging peanuts or recycled styrofoam into dirt bricks, and then press them, and the styrofoam would help up the R-value of the home, but the bricks wouldn't have to be as thick to do the same job.

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#17
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Re: Rock, Paper, Scissors

09/04/2008 5:37 PM

I'm wondering about that myself--a mix of recovered styrofoam bits and maybe fiberglass strands, dirt/cement-resin grout?

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#18
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Re: Rock, Paper, Scissors

09/05/2008 4:45 AM

You already get lightweight blocks with polystyrene beads in them & you can build with polystyrene blocks in-filled with cement so this idea could work.

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#19
In reply to #18

Re: Rock, Paper, Scissors

09/05/2008 7:30 AM

Yes, I know about that stuff--it has been deemed too expensive and too complex for use in third world/developing nations--I'm figuring out that if it's "The Boss" who makes these decisions, I probably need to work on becoming "The" Boss--some one needs to have an "accident" around here, maybe...

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#23
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Re: Rock, Paper, Scissors

12/26/2008 12:00 PM

Would you harvest from the floating plastic refuse pond north of Hawaii?

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#24

Re: Rock, Paper, Scissors

12/26/2008 12:04 PM

www.georgiaadobe.com

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