February 20 and 22 participated in a two day sustainability conference sponsored by Nihon University. Day one of the conference was held at the Bioresource Sciences College in Fujisawa, Kanagawa and the second day was held at the Engineering College in Koriyama, Fukushiama.The first day included a tour of our research center.The second day the Engineering College introduced their research in sustainable building.



February 9-19, lead a straw bale workshop in Yufuin, Oita Prefecture. ムラづくり風の原っぱ (abbrev. Harappa), an NPO working to revitalize the local community, is renovating a cafe using straw bales as an element of the interior.
210日から18日までの9日間、大分県湯布院にある「ムラづくりNPO風の原っぱ」という特定非営利活動法人がストローベイルワークショップを主催しました。既存の店舗をリフォームし、ストローベイルと珪藻土でカフェの内装を作りました。4年前原っぱを設立したのは地元の浦田龍次さんです。浦田さんは長年平和運動に参加し、自然が大好きな方です。原っぱは主に「食」と「農」を切っ掛けにして、人と人や人と自然を繋げる団体です。 例えば、10反の面積の田圃で地元の農家さんと一緒に合鴨農法をしています。「カフェが完成したら、調理教室などを開きたい。」と浦田さんは夢を膨らませていらっしゃいました。そのため、原っぱカフェのキッチンはかなり広いです。この原っぱカフェは4月にオープンする予定です。
Yufuin is famous for its hot springs. Snow accumulated on the wall surrounding the outdoor bath.
Harappa is involved in an array of agricultural, social and ecological activities. For example, they promote 合鴨農法 (Aigamo-nouhou), which integrates ducks into organic rice cultivation. The paddling action of the ducks prevents weeds from taking root, the ducks eat weeds and insects, and the manure from the ducks becomes fertilizer for the rice.
The workshop participants were wonderful
All ages
Visitors from Korea
Cutting Straw
And the food was great! Yasu-san's wood-fired pizza oven
The straw bales are plastered with 珪藻土 (Keisoudo), an earthen plaster containing diatomaceous earth and some cement/lime based and/or other pozzolanic ingredients. When examined under a microscope, one can see that keisou, which consists of diatoms, is very porous, which enables Keisoudo to modify interior humidity. Unlike earthen plastered straw bale walls, which will take days, if not weeks, to dry and harden, Keisoudo begins to harden the same day. Keisoudo will also be used to finish the floor as well.
Finish Coat
Truth Window
Straw Bale Bench
Oita and Okinawa Sea Shells


福島県飯舘村 ストローベイル建築

February 2-6th, lead a straw bale workshop in Iitate, Fukushima Prefecture (福島県飯舘村). Iitate received a grant from Japan's Ministry of the Environment to build a model ecological home. Iitate employed Permaculture Center Japan, represented by Koji Itonaga, Takahiro Yamada, Sachie Fujishima, and Kenji Uragami to create the overall design and build specific elements. In turn, a local architect, Yoshiyuki Toyota, and local construction company, Komatsu Construction Company, were hired. The west wall of a detached studio was built with straw bales. Workshop participants consisted mainly of Nihon University students.The interior is plastered with earth and will be finished with lime plaster.The soil used in the plaster was recycled from the earthen plastered walls of an old home. Who knows how many centuries this soil has been used as a plaster?For the base coat, the soil was mixed with cut straw. The exterior is finished with wood siding. I installed a series of temperature and relative humidity senors in the wall in order to determine the effect of an exterior rain screen on the interstitial hygrothermal environment.