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Ecology - An Excerpt from The Natural Building Companion

Ecology - An Excerpt from The Natural Building Companion

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Applicable to building in climates that are cold and wet, hot and dry, or somewhere in between, The Natural Building Companion offers thorough coverage of straw bale, straw-clay, woodchip-clay, and cellulose wall systems--as well as earthen and stone wall systems. Integrating holistic design and permaculture principles, this fully illustrated volume informs professionals making the transition from conventional building, homeowners embarking on their own construction, or green builders who want comprehensive guidance on natural-building options.
Applicable to building in climates that are cold and wet, hot and dry, or somewhere in between, The Natural Building Companion offers thorough coverage of straw bale, straw-clay, woodchip-clay, and cellulose wall systems--as well as earthen and stone wall systems. Integrating holistic design and permaculture principles, this fully illustrated volume informs professionals making the transition from conventional building, homeowners embarking on their own construction, or green builders who want comprehensive guidance on natural-building options.

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Published by: Chelsea Green Publishing on Feb 01, 2012
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reserved

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07/21/2013

 
 A Comprehensive Guide tointeGrAtive desiGn And ConstruCtion|
w i t h
instruCtionAl dvd
 Jacob Deva Racusin
an
Ace McArleton
Natural Building
companion
the 
 
DESIGN/BUILD LIBRARY
 
to systems ecology are happening now, and are not just potential uture outcomes. In accepting thisreality, we then must also accept responsibility orchanging these outcomes.The primary cause o the current global warmingtrend is the release o greenhouse gases into theatmosphere; the gases prevent heat rom radiatingthrough the atmosphere into space, trapping theheat and raising global climate temperatures. Asdesigners and builders we are part o an industry that contributes 35% o the greenhouse gas emittedin North America (Biello 2008), so we can play abig role in achieving signicant greenhouse gasreductions. From material selection to energy eciency detailing, much o what makes naturalbuilding a more ecologically avorable buildingpractice relates to the act that it contributes less toglobal warming than do other building practices. A critical consideration in gaining an awarenesso the context o a building is appreciating theecological impact o the structure as a whole ando its material components—rom the extraction o the eedstock to the disposal o the building upondemolition—as well as the ecology o the proposedbuilding site. There is ar more on this subject thancan be covered in this book; thereore, we will lay out the most signicant ecological considerationsand the role natural building plays in causationand/or remediation o these considerations, and weencourage you to engage in urther research on thetopics o greatest relevance to your project.
Global Warming andClimate Change
The largest, most complex, and most urgent socialand ecological issue we ace as a global community is that o the steady warming o our Earth’s climate, which is the result o, at least in part, the release o anthropogenically sourced carbon compounds intothe atmosphere. While there are still people whoquestion the validity o climate change—the extent o its potential negative impact, or the human causationactors involved—the overwhelming majority o scientic research shows measurable evidence o risingglobal temperatures and shits in climate, with directhuman causation. Associated ecosystem degradation,biodiversity and habitat loss, phenological changes(how plant and animal lie-cycle events are infuencedby variations in climate), and myriad other changes
Chapter 2
Ecology 
The eectiveness o greenhouse gases in trappingheat in our atmosphere is measured as global warmingpotential (GWP); by association, the GWP o amaterial, product, or building is directly related tothe emissions o these gases. Carbon dioxide (CO
2
)is the most common and most heavily produced by anthropogenic sources. However, methane has 25times, nitrous oxide 298 times, and hexafuoride22,800 times the GWP (Malin 2008). Since CO
2
isused as a baseline, the value o these gases is reerredto as CO
2
equivalent, or CO
2
e. For example, 1 ton o methane is represented as 25 tons CO
2
e.To have an eective impact on reducing CO
2
e, we have to identiy the contributing actors o CO
2
ein buildings. Given that energy consumption is aprimary source o CO
2
e production, a common tool
 
The Natural Building Companion
12
U.S. TOTAL GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS IN 2005(million metric tons CO
2
equivalent)
CommercialResidentialIndustrialTransportation
Greenhouse gas production in the United States in 2005, by sector.
Graph by Jacob Deva racusin; source emrath anD Liu 2007.
or analyzing the impact o a material is through itsenergy use. The amount o energy used to producea material rom raw eedstock extraction throughproduction and manuacturing is called its
embodied 
 
energy 
; this period o analysis, or boundary, is reerredto as
cradle-to-gate 
, and it is the common boundary 
There are ecological impacts throughout a product’s lie cycle, rom cradle to grave.
iLLustration by ben Graham.
used to calculate the embodied energy or materials.The
cradle-to-grave 
boundary, by comparison,includes all energy used in resource extraction,manuacturing, production, transportation to site,inclusion within a building, and disposal (Hammondand Jones 2011). In analysis o a new construction

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