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Resource efficiency was one of the important elements considered during the four-day Navajo design charrette. The integration of resource-efficiency concepts into design, materials, and building practices can reduce the environmental impacts associated with home construction.
These considerations led to the selection of straw bale and adobe as building materials for the demonstration house at Ganado. Straw bales were available not far from the building site and adobe blocks were manufactured from soil taken from the site.
Plastered straw-bale building was just one component the resource-efficient strategy employed in the Navajo demonstration project. Passive solar design and the use of adobe as the thermal mass were also used to save energy and lower heating and cooling costs. In the Navajo area, the daytime average solar radiation is Btus per hour during the six winter months and during the six summer months.
This ample sunshine makes solar energy a good strategy for winter space heating. Solar heat, however, needs to be controlled during the summer months to prevent overheating.
Due to the width of straw bales, the windows are naturally shaded from the high, hot summer sun, while the lower, winter sun is allowed to enter. Most of the passive solar heat is provided by the wood-frame and glass sunspace on the south side.
The concrete floor and adobe walls within the sunspace provide heat storage of daytime heat for nighttime use. During winter, solar heat collected in the sunspace is vented into the home. For back-up heating, the Navajo demonstration home utilizes a wood pellet stove and two electric baseboard heaters.
During summer, the sunspace is shaded and vented to prevent overheating. Adobe Walls and Thermal Mass. Adobe and rammed earth construction are two of the oldest and most commonly used building materials. Adobe has been used to shelter the Navajo people for centuries and, consequently, was integrated into the demonstration project.
Exterior adobe walls are appropriate in a desert climate with wide day-to-night temperature swings. Adobe walls absorb solar heat during the day, and at night radiate their heat back into the cool night sky leaving the home at a comfortable temperature.
Exterior and interior adobe walls provide excellent thermal mass. In the Navajo demonstration project, adobe serves as thermal mass in the common wall between the solar sunspace and main house, and also in interior house walls.
Buildings made of stucco, plaster, and mortar have survived centuries. Stucco, plaster, and mortar are very similar. Stucco is a rougher-surfaced exterior wall siding. They are both mixtures of crushed rock and sand.
Lime, which is limestone crushed to a powder, adds pliability or spreadability to the mix.
And sand, called the aggregate, gives the mix substance. The best aggregates combine different sizes of clean, sharp-edged sand. Mortar, also a mixture of cement, lime, and sand, is used in masonry or plastering.
Adobe is compressed earth. The best adobes are high in clay, which is very fine soil with good cohesion. The adobe is rammed into forms or pressed into blocks while damp, then sun-dried to form a durable building material.Search all of Building Science Corporation's variety of Consulting and A Hygrothermal Analysis of Various Exterior Wall Systems”, conducted by BSC for Walsh sponsored research program to determine the significance or insignificance of potential moisture problems due to an impermeable polyethylene layer in above- and below-grade walls.
Seven Materials to Change The World. Presented By: Pliny Fisk III, The Center for Maximum Potential Building Systems Abstract. This presentation focuses on a set of materials and building approaches that responds to two major issues of our time; a global humanitarian crisis and a climate change crisis.
A report by BAE Systems and SWIFT shows that financial market areas such as equities trading, bonds, and derivatives face more threats than banking, forex, and trade finance.
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