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Newsletter #4

Welcome to this month's edition of the newsletter! While we're working on the quarterly journal, we like to share cool stuff we've seen around. If you'd like to see past editions, click here.

We hope The Last Straw can be a platform to share and explore ideas of a better world through the lens of building methods and materials. Join us as we bring a critical perspective to conventional practice, imagine alternatives, and connect designers, builders, and dreamers. Let us know what you think and if you're working on something you think we should share!

Free Encyclopedia of Sustainable Building Materials
Last year Chris Magwood made his classic book, Making Better Buildings, available for free online!  Chris's way of comparing materials using standardized measures of things like embodied energy, cost, labor input, and more has been a useful framework for  builders and designers.

Mario Cucinella, WASP TECLA, Technology and Clay

3D printing buildings with natural materials is a strange combination, but we'll take this over the brick-laying robot any day! This project aims to spread knowledge of this system with a "Maker Economy" kit that includes the machinery and open source assembly information.
EPD: Straw as Insulation Material
There's now an EPD for straw in the UK! EPD's (environmental product declarations) make it easier to compare different building materials and do full life cycle assessments (LCA) for buildings. EPD's are also frequently required for green building standards. This kind of standardized documentation is huge for bringing straw building to mainstream awareness and use.
Cob and other Natural Building Workshops Around the U.S.
Here's a great place to look for natural building workshops and learning sessions that are coming up this year.
Foster + Partners criticises RIBA climate report over "deviation" from global treaty
Architecture firm Foster+Partners' issue is that the report expands the focus to the embodied carbon of building materials and not just the building's carbon emissions. Coincidentally, Foster+Partners' recent proposal for the tallest building in London was rejected by the city, partially on the grounds that the embodied carbon used was too high.


If someone forwarded this email to you, join the mailing list here!  Let us know if you hear of cool projects, interesting news, or if you're up to something we should share!

The Last Straw Journal
The Last Straw Journal
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