We’re honored that the nuns at Sravasti Abbey, a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Newport, Washington, chose to construct their newest building with Faswall green building blocks. Chenrezig Hall provides a dining hall, commercial kitchen, administrative offices, and temporary residences for visiting nuns and monks. (Watch the video below to learn more about the project.)
Project contractors Alpha & Omega Construction from Oldtown, Idaho recommended Faswall green building blocks because they offers several beneficial characteristics that were important to Sravasti Abbey’s residents. Faswall blocks create incredibly strong, durable structures that will last for generations. They are made with a blend of wood and concrete, which means they resist damage from pests – a plus since the abbey is surrounded by forestland.
Faswall is a made from 60 percent recycled materials, which is only one of the things that makes it an outstanding green building material. The blocks have unrivaled thermal mass, which means they create warm, comfortable buildings. No cold air seeping through cracks in this building! Structures built with Faswall green building blocks are also extremely energy efficient, which helps keep utility bills low.
The word “Chenrezig” means “The Buddha of Compassion,” and we have no doubt that all who enter this sacred center will feel compassion and love from its residents.
Chenrezig Hall is a great example of how Faswall green building blocks can be used for commercial buildings. Can we help you build an office, medical or dental center, shopping plaza, industrial building, or your own place of compassion? Please contact us today for more information.
We make a point to visit many of the Faswall ICF block-built-homes across the US and Canada in our travels. (Click to watch video)
At times this is for providing on-site installation support during construction phase. At other times it’s to follow up on building performance issues. This includes monitoring energy use and keeping abreast of the new materials being used in association with exterior and interior finishing of buildings (i.e. stucco and plaster products, building wraps, windows, and etc.).
We continue to hear from customers long after their homes are built. The stories are positive and our customers almost always have a comment about the “feel” of their indoor environment. We have been able to identify at least three things going on in a dwelling that contribute to this “feel” that people refer to:
- The way that a “mass wall” manages air infiltration and moisture:
We receive blower door test results from builders and homeowners that are consistently excellent. Part of that credit goes to the installation crews who are vigilant in putting the walls together. Part of this is also that the walls, when filled and capped (either stucco or building wrap) properly, create a good tight-seal envelope.
Vapor permeability is likely the most unique attribute of wood-fiber cement wall systems. It’s a little difficult to understand, and for that reason “breathability” is often used to describe what goes on in the walls.
How it works:
Moisture in the form of vapor is constantly moving in all walls. Indoor humidity levels rise and fall due to what’s happening indoors as well as what is happening outdoors. The constant variations in weather, temperature, and etc. mean that vapor is constantly migrating in and out of your walls. The permeability of the “skins” on our homes either enhances or inhibits this movement of moisture.
In a wood fiber-cement wall system, the walls are free draining (ie; they cannot hold moisture). This can best be understood by holding a block under a flowing faucet; the water will flow out immediately from the block. This is why all our Faswall ICF homes utilize vapor permeable wall systems (or, a “breathable walls”). It means that water in the form of vapor cannot be held in the walls, and it means rot and fungal growth cannot happen in a Faswall ICF wall system. This migration of moisture in and out of the breathable wall construction allows for a relative indoor humidity that is constant.
People often talk of how their Faswall built home has a “feel”. This “feel” is largely due to the constant relative humidity levels. High mass, vapor permeable walls act different that conventionally-built stick framed walls.
Stucco and plaster with high permeability are ideal forms of sealing Faswall ICF walls. Building wraps with high permeability are excellent at preventing wind-driven penetrating rain; they allow moisture in and out according to the “push-pull” of surrounding high/low pressure that continually cycles around us.
- The acoustical performance attributes of wood fiber cement walls
Faswall ICF walls are often used as a way of mitigating sound. A number of customers along rail and highway corridors choose to build with Faswall ICF’s. The walls provide substantial protection against unwanted noise. There is also a sound absorptive property of the wood fiber-cement composite material. The high-mass Faswall wall system has an ideal combination of sound absorption and sound transmission properties. STC ratings for Faswall wall systems can range between 52 and 68, while the exposed surface of the Faswall ICF wall forms can provide an exceptional noise reduction coefficient.
- The toxic-free organic matter of the Faswall wood fiber block
We receive a growing number of inquiries from chemically sensitive customers needing a source of building materials that are toxic-free. More attention is being paid to the many chemicals in conventionally built dwellings. When a Homeowner has Multiple Chemical Sensitivities (MCS), there is a clear shift of priorities regarding how they want to build their new home or commercial building. “MCS, as defined by the US Environmental Protection Agency in 2003, is a physical condition whereby the affected person reports sensitivity or intolerance to a variety of common chemicals, both natural and synthetic, at very low levels.” Click for Source
We often send out block samples and insulation samples to help customers become familiar with the materials used to build the Faswall block. This often leads them to choose to build with Faswall block. Another movement which brings us into contact with customers is Baubiologie. As defined by the Institute for Baubiologie: “Homes or dwellings can be seen as an organism. The term third skin accurately describes the intimate relationship between humans and their living space. It illustrates vividly how closely we are interrelated with our living environment and also in how many ways we are dependent on it. Building biology is defined as the study of the holistic interrelationships between humans and their living environment.” Click for Source
If this is an area of interest you wish to pursue in your search for toxic free building materials please contact us for referrals.
We continue to learn about ways to more efficiently install the block. This results in not only a faster build time but a reduction in the final cost. Much of this means being available for conversations with a customer’s designer, architect, and builder on the upfront side before building begins. Often we are in communication with our customer’s engineer, and their building department officials too. It takes a team to build a home.
Occasionally our staff steps in and becomes the quarterback of the overall process. Our goal is to serve our customers at the point where things need support in order to make it as easy as possible to use the Faswall ICF block wall system.
We keep in communication with many of the Faswall ICF homeowners and many of them are willing to provide input on how their home-building experience went and what they have learned about their home’s livability. If you want to consider using the Faswall ICF block for the walls of your new home, addition, or commercial building, we have builders, homeowners, engineers and designers willing to testify about their experience working with our company, the support we offer, and what it is like to build with wood fiber-cement block. We have a great network of professionals across North America to draw upon to provide services.
Give us a call.
Bennett Hall, a reporter for the Corvallis Gazette-Times, recently published an article about us entitled “ShelterWorks Has Something to Prove.”
The article announces that we were recently awarded a commercialization grant from Oregon Built Environment & Sustainable Technologies Center, known as Oregon BEST.
We’ve been pursuing a grant for a couple years, as it will open doors that have been inhibiting our growth.
We’ll use the money for testing to establish the structural properties of our Faswall® building blocks.
As Hall’s article explains, we’ve “won a following among do-it-yourselfers but have been slow to catch on with commercial contractors.”
As Tom Van Denend says,
“At that level, people want more of a Good Housekeeping seal of approval. The takeaway of the testing will be what we’re calling an engineering bulletin that we can hand to project engineers.”
The article continues,
The company recently landed its first big commercial project, a two-story business technology center in Bismarck, N.D. Van Denend is hoping the test results will persuade other contractors to follow suit.
The testing will be carried out early next year at Portland State University’s Infrastructure Testing & Applied Research Lab, a research facility for Oregon BEST. Experiments will provide third-party data on the strength of a wall built with Faswall.
Based on preliminary testing, Van Denend believes his company’s wood-based product will prove substantially more shock-resistant than other insulated concrete forms, known as ICFs in the construction trade.
“The vast majority of ICFs are made of foam,” he said. “There’s no (structural) value for the foam — it’s weak. Our blocks have value structurally.”
Hall explains that about 90 percent of our building projects are residential, as we’ve had a difficult time making inroads into commercial construction.
If the PSU lab validates our claims, however, it could open doors for commercial construction.
Getting into the commercial market should actually double our sales within a few years.
We’re thrilled for the prospects afforded by the grant, and we appreciate David Kenney’s kind words announced in a press release about the grant:
“We’re pleased that another of our commercialization program grants will help an Oregon company advance a unique green building product that will ultimately create green jobs and advance Oregon’s reputation as a cleantech innovator.”
Read the full article for more details here.
Look to Faswall® for future commercial projects!
For the 12th year in a row, the Renewable Energy Roundup and Green Living Fair will take over downtown Fredericksburg.
This weekend, Austin Community College student Adrian Lopez showed kids how the sun can be used to provide energy. He’s also learning a few things himself.
“Hopefully a new perspective of where things are going, where things need to go, and how I can contribute,” he said.
The fair is a place to get hands-on experience with the latest green and sustainable technology.
“It’s a great ‘do it yourself’ material,” Paul Wood with ShelterWorks said of his product on display. “There’s no other wall system to build a home or a commercial building for the do-it-yourselfers as easy as this. It’s like big LEGO blocks.”
Those blocks are an example of alternative construction materials that are good for the earth and cut energy consumption.
“It provides a great insulation value to the home, it captures thermal mass and homes are able to save money on heating and cooling expenses,” Wood said.
For Lopez, this weekend’s fair is a chance to be inspired.
“I’m studying environmental science and eventually I want to be an inventor in energy production,” he said.
The renewable Renewable Energy Roundup and Green Living Fair is this Saturday and Sunday, rain or shine, in Fredericksburg.
A Faswall Custom Home just received its LEED for Homes Platinum Certification, which is the highest level of sustainability in the program.
The house, called the “Chocolate Home”, received its name in honor of the homeowner’s love of dark chocolate and passion for sustainable living.
The New-century custom home designed by Paolo Design Group takes on a clean-line Tuscan style adapted to Northwest living –- endless pool included!
See the home here.