Here is a paper on rice hull insulating: ‘The rice hulls are unique within nature. They contain approximately 20% opaline silica in combination with a large amount of the phenyl propanoid structural polymer called lignin. This abundant agricultural waste has all of the properties one could ever expect of some of the best insulating materials. Recent ASTM testing conducted R&D Services of Cookville, Tennessee, reveals that rice hulls do not flame or smolder very easily, they are highly resistant to moisture penetration and fungal decomposition, they do not transfer heat very well, they do not smell or emit gases, and they are not corrosive with respect to aluminum, copper or steel. In their raw and unprocessed state, rice hulls constitute a Class A or Class I insulation material, and therefore, they can be used very economically to insulate the wall, floor and roof cavities of a super-insulated Rice Hull House…’ Thanks to Tony Adrian for this link.
Georgia Pacific has a new mold-resistant wallboard. You can find more information about it on the company website here: ‘Paperless DensArmor� Plus Interior Wallboard is a highly mold-resistant interior gypsum panel. DensArmor Plus panels are ideal for moisture-prone interior walls, in areas such as basements and residential bathrooms. They are also ideal for commercial pre-rock installations. DensArmor Plus Interior Wallboard carries a three-month in-place exposure warranty…’ It scored a perfect 10 on a mold growth test, the fine print says: ‘…The score of 10, in the ASTM D3273 test, indicates no mold growth in a 4-week controlled laboratory test. The mold resistance of any building product when used in actual job site conditions may not produce the same results as were achieved in the controlled, laboratory setting. No material can be considered mold proof. When properly used with good design, handling and construction practices, DensGuard Products provide increased mold resistance compared to standard paper faced wallboard products.’
The Portland Cement Association has its May/June 2005 concrete homes newsletter out. Interesting stuff, including a giant home basement pour: ‘There are plenty of complex basement pours, but not many come along that demand this type of flexibility. This 14,760 sq. ft. residential home in Grand Blanc, Mich., features walls which are 12 ft. tall and 12 in. thick, with 12 in.center rebar placed both vertically and horizontally. Even more impressive is 580 linear ft. of 12 ft.x 12 in. wall over 250 ft. of trench footing with multiple angles…’
Tony Adrian’s house is unusual to say the least. It is self sufficient: off the commercial electrical grid, uses filtered rainwater and has no air conditioning. All this in Louisiana, a state not known for cool weather. How does he live there? Quite comfortably because his house was designed to maximize the possibilities of insulation, solar energy and the surrounding environment. A complete article including pictures of the house can be found the here in the Daily Advertiser as well as another article here. However, Home Building and Remodeling News corresponded with Adrian to ask about one of the most intriguing parts of the design: the roof.