Saturday, August 22, 2009

Cordwood construction

Some of our students, including Heidi who will be our first Sustainability Design and Technology graduate, are helping our with a local green/alternative building project, a cordwood home. I visited yesterday and was impressed with the quality of work, materials and detailing that the owner builders have put into it.

You can see the results here:

There are many kinds of new, and old, non-conventional building ideas and methods out there in the alternative building world, some of which deserve being reproduced more widely in the kinds of houses that ordinary folk live in.

I am quite fond of one of the materials these guys used, which I have used myself on occasion -- lime putty or plaster. Ordinary cementitious plasters and mortars take a lot of energy to make. Cement production for conventional concrete and mortar is a major source of CO2 emissions worldwide.

But you can make mortar and concrete and plaster with lime too, which saves energy. Lime is more dangerous to use than cement, and can cause very bad burns, so I don't recommend it unless you are prepared to read up on safety instructions with great diligence. But the very traditional Tudor-England appearance of a lime-washed wall when it is done is worth the effort.

Read their blog (above) to find out more.

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