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Grantee Research Project Results

Enhanced Sustainability through Straw-Bale Construction: Education-Research Building Demonstrating How to Live Sustainably in the Midwest

EPA Grant Number: SU833188
Title: Enhanced Sustainability through Straw-Bale Construction: Education-Research Building Demonstrating How to Live Sustainably in the Midwest
Investigators: Gray, Timothy , Motloch, John
Current Investigators: Gray, Timothy , Alexander, Ryan J. , Amore, Matthew T. , Anderson-Decina, Evan T. , Bajor, Daniel G. , Burns, Geoffrey A. , Cain, David M. , Desmit, Geoffrey S. , Dougherty, Sharon M. , Dyson, Daniel A. , Eckstein, Lindsey , Ernstberger, Todd M. , Ertel, Merritt M. , Faichild, Brad R. , Fettig, Lawrence T. , Frost, Kendra , Geers, Luke J. , Haines, Teresa Klingensmith , Hall, Alicia A. , Harner, Emily K. , Higginbotham, Joshua T. , Hoopingarner, Brandon M. , Hudson, John L. , Kenley, Lauren , Koester, Alisha R. , Kottkamp, Bradley A. , Leder, Megan M. , Lewis, Amy L. , Manwaring, Josh T. , McLeish, Stephanie L. , Merkel, Martin A. , Motloch, John , Pace, Brian W. , Parmele, Logan U. , Perkins, Wesley W. , Powers, Michael D. , Reier, Jason M. , Russell, Justin A. , Sams, Martin D. , Seltenright, Corey R. , Singer, Bradley J. , Steffen, Patrick W. , Wait, Chelsea A. , Woodward, Kelly A. , Ziulkowski, Nathan R.
Institution: Ball State University
EPA Project Officer: Nolt-Helms, Cynthia
Project Period: September 30, 2006 through May 30, 2007
Project Amount: $10,000
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2006)
Research Category: P3 Challenge Area - Built Environment , Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development


The greatest roadblock to a shift to sustainability is the false assumption that humankind is disconnected from the laws of nature and local limits. The greatest challenge is the inability to understand the true relationship among people, prosperity, and planet. This project is the first immersion learning–demonstration–research project of the Land Design Institute’s Landlab demonstration site that addresses this challenge by reconnecting people to sustainable relationships among buildings, sites, people, prosperity, and the planet.

This is Phase 1 of an innovative design approach with three interdisciplinary immersion-learning phases: 1) research and design, 2) field study, 3) integrated education-research-demonstration. It uses Straw Bale (ecological-energy-resource effective building type) and immersive learning to promote P3 understanding and public acceptance. It demonstrates the effectiveness of green building (to include energy performance, ecological footprinting, and building-site integration) to change the way people see the relationship of buildings, sites, people, prosperity, and planet. It educates people about how built-sites can integrate with resource flows, promote sustainability, and enhance quality of life, economics, and environment. The project includes press releases and strategic communications to net coverage on television, newspapers and periodicals to increase lay understanding of sustainable relationships among built environments, natural systems, economic development, and quality of life. It implements an integrated program of education, research, demonstration, and dissemination about this ecologicalenergy- resource effective building type and assessed effectiveness of P3 concepts as an educational tool in promoting sustainability in the communities BSU serves.

This is the first field demonstration project of the BSU Land Design Institute Landlab Green Technologies Demonstration Site, which is part of the proposed BSU Field Station Environmental Learning Center and LandLab (FSEEC-LL). The FSEEC-LL, on a field site in Muncie, Indiana will demonstrate how to live sustainably in the Midwest (and beyond). This straw bale ecobalancing demonstration-education-research building will be designed and located in accordance with recommendations of a three-year resource-balancing design study for the FSEEC-LL (Motloch, 2002) and in concert with a National Science Foundation (NSF) funded project (Badger, Brown and Motloch) to master plan the environmental learning center and landlab.

Supplemental Keywords:

buildings, sites, built-sites, ecological footprinting, ecobalance, economic development, quality of life,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, Air, TREATMENT/CONTROL, Sustainable Industry/Business, Sustainable Environment, climate change, Air Pollution Effects, Technology, Technology for Sustainable Environment, Environmental Engineering, Atmosphere, environmental monitoring, sustainable development, clean technologies, education, ecological design, environmental conscious construction, green building design, alternative building technology, alternative materials, straw bale, construction material

Progress and Final Reports:
Final Report

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The perspectives, information and conclusions conveyed in research project abstracts, progress reports, final reports, journal abstracts and journal publications convey the viewpoints of the principal investigator and may not represent the views and policies of ORD and EPA. Conclusions drawn by the principal investigators have not been reviewed by the Agency.

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