Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Papercrete


As I have watched people experience failure with Strawbale construction because they take too long and don't protect their bales, I have been looking for alternatives. Here is one idea Papercrete and a description from http://www.livinginpaper.com/#introduction

"Papercrete construction involves using waste paper for affordable, sustainable housing. In the United States, we discard enough paper each year to build a wall 48 feet high around the entire perimeter of the country. Even though about 45 percent of discarded paper is recycled annually, 55 percent or 48 million tons of paper is thrown away or goes into the landfills. Figuring conservatively, it takes about fifteen trees to make a ton of paper."

Another information source is Mason GreenStar.

9 comments:

Linz said...

Hi Deirdre,

Thanks for your blog, some very interesting stuff.

I would really love to know more about some of the failures of the strawbale homes. I am currently doing my Masters research into Strawbale construction as I am a young architect. I'm trying to construct an objective, critical analysis which is at times difficult as people are so passionate about straw.

Don't get me wrong, I think it's a great material but people are afraid to talk about what can go wrong and the consequences. So, I would be very interested to hear your views and for example to see what suggestion s would be needed to remedy the situation of 'taking too long'.

Thanks
Linz

Deirdre said...

Haybales/strawbales are susceptible to mold when they get wet. Several projects I've watched have gathered several hundred bales in the Fall, covered them loosely with tarps and left them over the winter. When spring comes around, most of the bales are unusable.I think you either need a shelter for the bales or you need to build in modules as the bales are harvested.

One project I'm watching completed several walls but didn't mud them in before winter arrived. I have a feeling that in the spring the bottom bales will have mold.

Linz said...

You bring up a really good point about harvest time of the bales and the fact strawbale building is intrinsically linked to seasons etc.

I have worked on a house in the UK where the unfinished walls were wrapped up in tarp for the winter and there were no problems apart from a small area which opened up during a storm. The plan then was to make a small hole in the damp area and let it dry out over the spring before plastering. I didn't see the finished result but everyone was very confident it would dry out in time.

I have read about a house which was left un-plastered for 10 years and was fine. I guess it depends on the climate you are in.

Deirdre said...

I'm holding judgment until I see the two buildings in the spring. I think it would be a tragedy if all that work was for nothing. I've heard that flax bales don't mold as easily and hope I can do a comparison.

Linz said...

OOh, that's interesting, please keep us posted....

Shahana said...

I like the idea.

Lunette de soleil Police said...

I am currently doing my Masters research into Strawbale construction as I am a young architect.

Deirdre said...

There is a village of strawbale houses in Craik, Saskatchewan. Check it out.

mrsam said...
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