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Christopher Strayer

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since Oct 15, 2013
I am a passionate builder with a love of nature.  I spend my time split between volunteering in my community garden, the local sustainability commission, volunteer trail patrol, and building experiments in my humble abode.  

When I have to pay the bills I make money building for others. I am diligently working toward a self sufficiency living model.
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Recent posts by Christopher Strayer

Kim I love the idea and your initial implementation. Unfortunately It seems that the only way to get peoples attention is to financially incentivise, and do it in a way that can become substantially measurable for them. To hit the masses, proof on finances first, proof on comfort second, proof on quality of life 3rd.

I like the 5 minutes a day look at it. To my idea of 3rd proof, its a hard sell and a hard concept to get for most of the masses because that 5 minutes a day adds up to a lot of time. The general whine is "I'm so busy to do all that" Based upon the general US mantra you go to a job, earn a little money, pay a lot of money for goods and services that are at the root of the a fore mentioned 5 minute actions. So while caught in that system it is hard to see a different way. The cool thing about all of the those 5 minute tasks is that you suddenly become your own employer by working on your own sustainable life in a tangible way if not a financial way. You can see your actions when you, recycle, garden, perform maintenance, build community. Over time those actions become notable savings in a comfortable quality life. 5 minutes plus 5 minutes plus 5 . . . everyday is easier than watching the cash always roll out though harder to step into as a life style than the systematic 9 to 5 system built to keep us.

Damn its a slow process when there are only a few people on the lead lines swimming frantically trying to turn the boat while everyone else is arranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

Here's to the leaders and early adopters, keep up the good fight.

Cheers

Chris

5 years ago
Julia,

Thanks for the pics. Good to hear that you have no earth contact. I understand the slow down on projects b/c of life. Keep up the natural work and Keep us posted.
6 years ago
Julia,

I am getting into this post late and I hope you have found a reasonable solution. If not consider the following.

Even if you are not doing load bearing SB the pre-compression of the bales is important. Creep is a long term movement that occurs in the wall as it settles. This process is due to the high weight of the plaster that is applied to the light weight and flexible bale stack. Over time the plaster will settle down and crack, if the wall is out of plumb then that condition of creep and cracking will be exacerbated. I am only indicating this as it would solve your first problem of a wall that is not stable/flexing under lateral pressure. As you have begun stacking already (as of your post) the foundation assembly is complete so the possibility of all thread is not possible. Robert Ray's suggestion of poly for the compression is spot on. We used packing strap with 1100 pound tension ratings spaced between 20 and 24 inches wrapped from sill to box beam at top of wall (alternate cinch side inside to outside every other strap to prevent wall from buckling during tensioning). In your sloped condition you might us rough sawn laid on flat (3x12) as your top compression plate as you already have a structure above and would like to minimize gap at top of wall/underside of roof structure.

My next concern is the bale wall sloping to the back. This indicates that the bale wall moves further back into the hill side where the wall is lower(typical earthship design). Have you got air circulation capacity around the wall on both the inside and out? The bales and adobe plasters work wonderfully together based on their individual material properties. Problems occur when you change the moisture transport mechanisms. If you shut off the evaporation potential from one side of the wall vapor transport has to move through the entire wall instead of just simple surface absorption and evaporation. This forces substantially more moisture into the wall, specifically the bales. Worse than this condition is if you have earth (the hillside) in contact with the exterior of wall. You will conduct liquid water in the soils into you bale walls and have fairly rapid decomp of the bales due to high moisture content. The tire walls work based upon mass (nearly 300# per tire) to resist lateral forces and support load (roof) above. If the hill is not stable then further erosion of the hill will create the same 'bulge' you described before only it will occur much faster this time as the bales resist lateral pressure even less than the tires.

I hope you have a successful project and we would love to see some pics.
6 years ago