Green Home Building and Sustainable Architecture

Sustainable architecture is an exciting and important field, with many people reviving traditional methods of building and others creating innovations to established practices. Kelly Hart, webmaster of the popular website www.greenhomebuilding.com, posts text and photos featuring what he discovers from around the world.

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Location: Crestone, Colorado, United States

Kelly Hart has been involved with green building concepts for much of his life. He has also worked in various fields of communication media, including still photography, cinematography, animation, video production and now website development. Kelly has lived in an earthbag/papercrete home that he built and consults about sustainable building design.

December 29, 2007

Global Warming Media

Every year I update all of the listings for media at www.greenhomebuilding.com and I am doing that now. Last year when I got to the topic of our environment and books about global warming I was astounded to notice that nearly half of the new titles were nay-sayers trying to cast doubt in the public perception of the issue. Most of these writers were associated with conservative think tanks or corporate interests.

As you might imagine there are many new books written about global warming and its consequences; I noticed over twenty five that were published in 2007. This time, the ratio of nay-sayers has diminished to about a quarter of the volume. I take this as an encouraging trend, in that the real science and public perception are obviously coming closer together. To see a listing of some of new media see this page.

December 07, 2007

Using Earthbags as Ceiling Insulation

Dr. Owen Geiger and I have collaborated on a new article posted at earthbagbuilding.com that describes how to use earthbags filled with various natural insulating materials to insulate ceilings or roofs.
There seems to be a general lack of interesting ceiling options using sustainable building materials. For instance, when touring otherwise beautiful straw bale homes one often sees sheetrock covering conventional industrial insulation. Instead of using fiberglass batts or even manufactured cotton batts to insulate a roof, it is possible to use earthbags that are filled with a variety of insulating materials. These materials include rice hulls, crushed volcanic rock (such as scoria), vermiculite and perlite.

The insulating value of these ranges from about R-2 to R-3, so they are quite effective, and can also be quite inexpensive to install.

This article also describes how one might use mats made of natural fibers to cover and finish these earthbag ceilings.

Suspended ceilings, as described in this article, have a number of benefits. They conceal the roof structure, plumbing, venting and electrical wiring, as well as improve acoustics and insulation. And they can also greatly enhance the ambiance or hominess of a room.