US-Ethics, Culture, and Structure in the Negotiation of Straw Bale Building Codes

Written by esba

This study explores building code negotiation between straw bale advocates’ ecology-oriented values and health and safety values that underlie building codes in general by focusing on how values and ethics are articulated and embodied in practice and discourse in the two states where straw bale building standards were first initiated. The local, contingent nature of interactions, grounded in particular practices, material culture, and written and visual texts in which values were embedded, coupled with organizational factors contributed to strategies for a prescriptive code in Arizona and for a performance code in New Mexico. Examination of situated practice in standards development for unconventional materials that may not fit well with practices based on conventional technologies sheds light on how norms associated with the ethics of safe building are enmeshed in existing practice where they can be taken for granted as ethical absolutes and illustrates the kinds of insights available through paying attention to ethics in practice.

Author: Kathryn Henderson


About the author


The European Straw Building Association is an independent European association, devoid of any profit making motive. The object of the Association is to promote and develop the use of straw, as a sustainable way of building in all the senses of the term “sustainable”: renewable, ecological, healthy, energy and climate efficient, social and economic.
The Association is a federation composed of organisations and people particularly concerned with the use of straw in buildings.