Straw Standards Project

In April of 2010 Ecological Building Network announced both the completion of the earthen standards project, and the launch of a new project, development of Standard Practice for the Use of Agricultural By-Products in Construction. Originally conceived to be a standard for straw bale construction, the concept quickly expanded both because straw bale construction (as wonderful as it is) will likely never scale up enough to have large scale impact, and because the promising family of building products now in development include a huge array of plant fibers, simple minerals, and vegetal oils used as insulation, structure, roofing, sheathing, and more. To pick just a few examples: the marketplace will soon see structural straw panels, straw insulation blocks, sprayed hemp insulation, and soy-based glues to replace petroleum-based glues.

We received seed funding from the Energy Foundation of San Francisco (because of the huge energy savings possible in bio-based insulation systems), and invite and welcome all support, new partners and contributions to this effort. The first draft of "ASTM Straw Standard Draft" ASTM Standard Guide to the use of Agricultural By-Products in Construction was submitted to ASTM in 2010, where it awaits further committee action depending on financial support for shepherding it through to acceptance.