[Strawbale] Big News about SB in the US

Andrew Morrison Andrew at StrawBale...
Fri Aug 20 19:48:22 CEST 2010

I'm very interested to see more on this however, the links you posted don't
seem to get me to the comments in question. Is there a more specific route
you can share?  Thanks in advance! I'm excited to see what the code
provisions will potentially look like.


On Fri, Aug 20, 2010 at 4:12 AM, Casa Calida vzw <info at casacalida...> wrote:

> Hello strawbalers in Europe!
> here some exciting news to share, coming of our special guest of ESBG 2009,
> David Eisenberg.
> (see below)
> _____________________
> Hello David and all involved in this Big News!
> also our greatest congratulations and our deepest respect for your work and
> vision
> on behalf of
> - Casa Calida and strawbalers in Belgium
> - the strawbale networkers all over Europe, who certainly will be inspired
> by your news
> - the partners France, Spain, England, Germany, Slovakia and Belgium,
> united in a EU funded project Leonardo, in which we are working for a best
> building practice for SBBuilding and evaluation method on the different SB
> techniques, just to make a good base to go for a European strawbale code in
> the future! We will be extra motivated to go on with this work, knowing that
> you are doing these important steps in the US, that will have his effect on
> SB elsewhere!
> Big hug
> Gigi
> Belgium
> _________________________________
> Op 17/08/2010 7:13, strawnet at aol... schreef:
>  Hello al l,
> I want share some great news. Earlier today, here in Chicago, Martin
> Hammer's "comment"/proposal to include the strawbale code he’s been working
> on over the past few years in California into the new International Green
> Construction Code (IgCC) was approved by a committee vote of 8 to 6! The
> IgCC is the new US code for commercial (and high-rise residential) buildings
> that will become part of the family of 2012 International Codes (I-codes).
> It will go through a full code development cycIe with the rest of the 2012
> I-codes next year and there is work that will need to be done still to make
> sure it doesn’t get rejected in that process, but getting it into the second
> public draft of the code now is a very big step forward.
> I served on the drafting committee for this code from last summer through
> the spring of this year. For more information about the IgCC and to download
> the whole IgCC first public draft and the comments – including Martin’s
> proposals for strawbale and earthen building and the EcoNest comment in
> support of straw clay go here:
> http://www.iccsafe.org/cs/IGCC/Pages/default.aspx
> http://www.iccsafe.org/CS/IGCC/Pages/Comments0810.aspx
> You’ll find these listed as comments 5-134, 5-135 and 5-136.
>  I was the only proponent speaking in favor of it here, and there were
> others who spoke in opposition. The initial motion was to disapprove but it
> failed 5 votes to 9 after considerable and very mixed discussion – which
> surprised me because of the nature of some of the comments – that it was
> still not ready and needed some technical fixes.
> The failure of the motion to disapprove required a new motion and Chris
> Mathis, an old building science friend from North Carolina, offered a motion
> for approval. That was followed by more discussion, with more concerns
> expressed that it wasn't ready. Then, just before the second vote, Chris
> pressed the committee to push the envelope. He said they should approve it
> and get it in, and rather than just having the few people who are very
> knowledgeable about it work on improving the things that still need to be
> done, “Let thousands of people look at it and help improve it through the
> next round of the code development process!” He said it was time to start
> pushing these things through. Then they voted - and it passed 8 to 6! I was
> amazed and delighted! So it is going into the second public draft!
> There were two other similar proposals (they’re called “comments”) that
> were heard right before the strawbale comment. The first, from Paula Baker
> Laport and Robert Laport proposed including the straw clay guidelines from
> New Mexico. Next was the other submitted by Martin, that one in support of
> earthen construction based on the new ASTM standard for earthen wall systems
> that I had initiated almost 10 years ago and Bruce King has spearheaded over
> the past few years. I spoke in support of both, but they were disapproved,
> though both received encouraging suggestions to bring them forward again
> after addressing non-mandatory/permissive language and other issues.
> Because they were heard one after the other, and I was the only proponent
> for them, I got to speak first for each one and so I had a total of 6
> minutes (2 minutes each) to frame them all in terms of the big issues I’ve
> been speaking to for all these years, including the coming challenges of
> ever-more limited and expensive energy, the low-impact, low-tech, climate
> beneficial, local/regional benefits, the industrial/proprietary bias and
> difficulty in funding research, testing and development for public domain,
> non-proprietary materials and systems. I started off by talking about the
> fact that I had been in buildings in Europe built with materials like straw
> clay and earth that are twice as old as this country! And to say that these
> are durable and safe ways of building when done properly. And when talking
> about the ASTM earthen standard, I said that if they looked at it they might
> think that it was too low tech to be reasonable compared to the standards
> that they’re used to for concrete and other industrial materials. But, I
> said, It was intentionally low tech. That I was involved in initiating that
> standard almost ten years ago and it was both to enable the use of those
> materials here and to reverse the outlawing of earthen building in
> developing countries through the adoption of modern industrial codes. That
> it was designed to enable people to build safe, durable, healthy, and
> affordable buildings anywhere in the world—including the in United States. I
> mentioned that the committee that developed that standard included the
> leading experts on earthen building and engineering from around the world
> and was based on reviewing and incorporating the best from international
> codes and standards for earthen building.
> After the first two went down, I was quite convinced because of the
> comments that the sb proposal would share the same fate and, thankfully, I
> was wrong!
> So hats off to Martin, Bruce, Matts, and many others who have worked so
> long and hard to develop these codes and to Chris Mathis for his leadership
> and visionary action on the committee.
> Onward!
> David Eisenberg
> _______________________________________________
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