Integrity Block may be a brand new company, and Green Design Systems might be struggling to find funding to launch their Straw Wall, but the concept behind their products is as old as the human desire to build shelters.
Shown off at West Coast Green 2008, the compacted earth blocks of Integrity Block, and the compressed straw panels of Straw Wall were among the greenest and most basic options for building materials. Yet there is still a science behind them.
One of the issues behind compacted earth blocks for building is they didn't meet code for strength and durability. Integrity Block set out to fix this issue with their product, which now meets code and is a viable green option for construction.
The blocks are made of up to 50% pre-consumer recycled content, require 40% less energy to manufacture, and emit 39% less CO2 than traditional materials made into blocks.
Many other blocks similar to this shown off at West Coast Green still contained cement, a big CO2 emitter during the manufacturing process. Integrity Block is an attractive option for builders because the eco-friendly manufacturing process and content make earning LEED credits much easier.
Straw Wall is also an old building method made into new with some added science. The panels are made of rice straw and hulls that are highly compressed with a custom-designed machine. Steel mesh (made of 100% recycled steel) is layered on either side of the panel keep the straw compressed.
The straw is a natural insulator, so no additional insulation is needed for construction, and the panels can be covered in plaster, sheet rock or siding for our modern tastes.
The straw is too compacted for rodents and vermin to burrow into, ensuring it is a natural and sanitary method of construction.
These two companies were in the Innovation Pipeline at West Coast Green, and will hopefully find success in the building industry.
More on Earthy Building Methods:
The Dirt on Rammed Earth
Building Green: Energy Efficiency and Aesthetics From The Same Materials (Part 6)
The Future IS Mud: Earth Architecture In Africa (And Lots Of Other Places)
Straw Bale Eco House at US Botanic Garden
Straw Bale Building at the Farm
A Picture is Worth...: Construction of a Straw Bale House, Part 1
More on West Coast Green 2008:
Sneak Peek at the Showhouse in West Coast Green 2008
A Few Familiar Faces at West Coast Green: PaperStone, Aquaduct Bike, and LiveRoof
Urban Re:Design’s Re:Construct Competition Winners Announced at West Coast Green 2008
The Reclaimer Diverts Lumber From Near-Capacity Landfills