Networking Natural Builders Worldwide
Visitors could also view the Capitol through a strong adobe arch, and relax beneath a bamboo shade trellis to read about America's traditional green-building heritage, from cliff dwellings and adobe pueblos of the Southwest, to an historic straw-bale church still standing strong in the Nebraska sandhills.
The U.S. Botanic Garden (USBG) organized the 2008 exhibition, called "One Planet - Ours!" to showcase sustainable techniques and technologies including edible school yards, urban orchards, a solar greenhouse, photovoltaic panels, residential wind turbines, green roofs and rainwater harvesting. The USBG is adjacent to the National Mall, across the street from the U.S. Capitol.
Straw bales may be the most economical and ecological material available
for construction today. After a cereal grain is harvested, the remaining
hollow stalks of straw can be inexpensively baled into super-insulating
building blocks, and quickly stacked into walls by a volunteer crew with
little or no building experience. Protected with a proper foundation,
roof and plaster, bale walls could last a century or longer, providing
an attractive and energy-efficient building envelope for human habitation.
of lovely interior plaster finishes are all clay based. The BWB building
team applied both locally harvested Maryland and Virginia clay plasters,
and a just-add-water plaster product called American
Clay, that comes in a rainbow of colors.
The BWB exhibit also demonstrates the versatility of earth as a building material, including a traditional adobe arch and "cob" seating benches. Bamboo, a fast-growing versatile plant, was also employed to create a shade structure, with seating underneath, inviting visitors to relax in a tranquil corner of the USBG. Eco-house - Fact Sheet
Inside the Strawbale Ecohouse, a table of books donated by New Society Publishers and Gibbs Smith, Publisher, offer more information about energy-efficient, ecological, and healthy building materials, technology and design.
To create the BWB exhibit, an experienced team of builders assembled from New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, California and North Carolina, ably assisted by local volunteers. Regional "green" businesses and professionals supported the building by donating and delivering materials, including Amicus Green Building Center, Nature Neutral, Community Forklift, Clayworks, and the Habitat For Humanity Restore.
The dozens of other exhibitors at the U.S. Botanic Garden include the Department of Energy (DOE), National Renewable Energy Laboratories (NREL), The Nature Conservancy, the American Horticultural Society, the SmartGrowth Network, and many more. (click here for a full list of exhibitors.)
USBG horticulturist and event coordinator Ray Mims says, “Our hope is that this will be a fun, interesting, thought-provoking experience for our visitors. Our goal is to provide the public with take home messages, empower them with knowledge, and motivate them to get involved in some manner.”
information on the One Planet Ours! Exhibition, visit www.usbg.gov
BWB is an international network of ecological builders working together for a sustainable future.