Natural Building Materials Fall 2014


The Devereux Project

The PAKSBAB Project

Gapminder Graphs

Our Driving Concept

Team’s Contacts

Where We Are Leaving the Project:
December 10th, 2014
Darcey Donovan (PAKSBAB) thinks that stakeholder analysis of whether people would accept straw bale in the US would be interesting. She also wants to design, build, and shaker table test a 2 story straw bale home, which she estimates will cost about $75,000. The design class (esp. architects, MEs, ARCHEs, CEs) could possibly work with her on plans (although she is a competent engineer herself), or fundraising. We’re unclear on how much, if any, real involvement she is expecting to have with Poly students.

Ben Werner (SLRI) is conducting intensive stakeholder analyses surrounding the Deveraux project. Nick S and Megan are still on his mailing list and plan to go to some of his big progress report meetings. He’s looking for a long-term continuing relationship with Poly students.

See our personal takeaways from the project on our Team page.

Problem Statement:

Current building methods both in the United States, and Northern Pakistan, range from somewhat to quite unsustainable or non-environmentally friendly due to CO2 emissions and use of resources. Straw bale is one alternative to brick, concrete, and wood-frame homes that has sustainable potential. However, the current building technology for load-bearing straw bale needs development and testing. Our group plans to raise awareness of this possibility in order to help provide for the testing necessary before building.

Screen Shot 2014-12-08 at 12.31.17 PM.png

Wood removal correlates to decreasing forest coverage. Fuel-wood (firewood) logically contributes to deforestation. A significant portion of wood use in Pakistan is for fuel-wood, therefore better insulated homes would likely relieve the stress on Pakistani forests.

Rural Poverty vs. Forest Coverage.png

Additionally, rural poverty correlates to deforestation. Providing basic energy efficient sustainable shelters could alleviate some elements of poverty and therefore decrease pressures on the local environment.


Ben Werner, SLRI with the Devereux Project
Darcey Donovan, PAKSBAB

While we will continue to maintain contact with Ben, right now it looks like our efforts will be best concentrated more toward PAKSBAB, as Ben is still in the stages of gathering resources from different people in the sustainability effort.

Where are these projects?

Ben is working with UCSB to develop a permaculture research community in Santa Barbara, near the Devereux Lagoon
Screen Shot 2014-11-01 at 9.53.43 PM.png
PAKSBAB works in Kashmir and “KPK” (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), mountain towns in Northern Pakistan

Our Goals:

  • work with Ben to set up a working relationship with Cal Poly students (starting with us)
  • Develop a reference set of lessons-learned or best practices from other sustainable living efforts
  • Continue discussion with PAKSBAB founder Darcey on her efforts, struggles, and successes with Straw Bale houses in Pakistan