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End of the Cement House Age

category national | housing | news report author Friday September 08, 2017 12:45author by Mac MacThomais Report this post to the editors

Cement houses are not the only houses available.

In the face of the worst housing crisis since rackrenting of the 19 th century why is Irish society so hung up on cement houses that resemble bunkers.There are numerous alternatives to cement and concrete and most western countries and developing world universities are exploring and investing in education for engineering and architectural studies called biotecture and geotecture knowledge transfer degrees

End of the Cement House Age

category national | housing | news report author Friday September 08, 2017 12:42author by Mac MacThomais

Cement houses are not the only houses available.

In the face of the worst housing crisis since rackrenting of the 19 th century why is Irish society so hung up on cement houses that resemble bunkers.There are numerous alternatives to cement and concrete and most western countries and developing world universities are exploring and investing in education for engineering and architectural studies called biotecture and geotecture knowledge transfer degrees.

Cement is one of the most environmentally hazardous materials in the world, adding more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than the entire weight of the global airline industry. According to the Sustainable Development Commission, 4% of Co2 is caused by aviation. Cement-based building materials, account for between 5% and 10% of all carbon dioxide emissions. Finding an alternative product to cement would, therefore, make excellent environmental sense, especially if we are to meet the government’s ambitious Kyoto agreement to limit the rise in our emissions to 13% above 1990 levels by 2012. Predictions are that Co2 will have increased by as much as 34% over 1990 levels

aced with spiralling fuel costs – more than 40% of the cost of cement comes from firing the kilns. Not only do modern plants consume as much energy as a small town; the kilns exhale clouds of toxic chemicals.

Most of us tend to think that cars are the source of our environmental problems and yes, they are a big source. But buildings are responsible for a larger percentage of most environmental impacts. Buildings consume about 40% of all the energy used in the U.S. All transportation including cars is only about 28%.

Their manufacture damages ecosystems and exploits non-renewable resources through pollution and quarrying, and a great deal of energy is required to convert raw materials to finished products. In order to protect the environment and our own health typical building practices must be changed.

If the negative impact of buildings and the building industry is to be reduced we must find ways of building that reduce pollution of the air, water and soil during the building process and materials manufacture. In addition, thought must be given to the building both during design and after it is constructed so that it is energy efficient and healthy to live in.

We need to think of buildings and their surroundings as a whole. Important issues in natural building include, orientation of buildings on site, design of the building, choice of building materials and technologies used to heat the building and treat the waste produced from the building.

There are a range of materials and products, which are environmentally friendly, which if used by architects and builders could result in buildings that are healthy, sustainable and comply with planning and building regulations.

From cob houses with thatched roofs to strawbale hybrids with hypercaust heating ,the Irish traditional way of building was suitable to the landscape we live upon. Hurricanes ,typhoon s and even earthquakes were easily accommodated with these buildings as they were built using materials local and structurally sound to withstand such forces. The building s were started small and added year by year as a family grew. Families are now getting smaller and houses getting bigger more costly and heating and cooling costs astromonical. The cement house is an economically non sustainable construction that has unfortunately became the norm in our society . The martial mentality of build cement bunkers is no longer appropriate in an EU state. Government are tied into the petrochemical industry which is a twin of the construction industry so globalisation will not allow alternative traditional yet modernised construction process s .

Scottish professor Alexander Tyler wrote in 1787 when the Penal laws and rack renting were in existence in Ireland

"A democracy is always temporary in nature; it simply cannot exist as a permanent form of government. A democracy will continue to exist up until the time that voters discover that they can vote themselves generous gifts from the public treasury. From that moment on, the majority always votes for the candidates who promise the most benefits from the public treasury, with the result that every democracy will finally collapse due to loose fiscal policy, which is always followed by a dictatorship."
“The average age of the world’s greatest civilizations from the beginning of history, has been about 200 years. During those 200 years, these nations always progressed through the following sequence:

◾From bondage to spiritual faith;
◾From spiritual faith to great courage;
◾From courage to liberty;
◾From liberty to abundance;
◾From abundance to complacency;
◾From complacency to apathy;
◾From apathy to dependence;
◾From dependence back into bondage

We need to avoid stages 5-8 however most of our citizens are at stage 7 and unable to empower themselves towards a basic end such as housing without government assistance and these people are all employed and in credit at the bank. Don't let government take away your basic fundamental right to house and feed yourself because they will and the terms they will expect may be unacceptable to decent upright citizens.

Defend your constitutional rights take back your stage from the politicos. Out with the new and back in with the old!

author by Bungalow Billpublication date Tue Sep 12, 2017 07:53Report this post to the editors

Adobe houses are found all over sub-Saharan Africa. When animal waste and straw are mixed with wetted mud. then allowed to bake in the tropical sun for several days, the result is thick bricks for building huts. The forests provide plentiful wood for roof frames, except in the denuded areas of the Sahel.
Problems I see in Ireland are our non-tropical sunshine and constant damp. Some adventurous individuals with money have built cement block walls with straw bales in the middle as insulation, but I don't see the big urban 'estate' building firms taking an interest.Uniformity, compactness, and profitability of mass 'units' will continue to be their keynote words.

author by Mack MacThomaispublication date Sat Sep 16, 2017 21:02Report this post to the editors

Its fair to say that cement and the petrochemical industry contribute to climate change however which would you prefer to be airborne during a hurricane or tornado,cement blocks or strawbales? Earthquakes in New Zealand's Nelson city have levelled the region twice in the last century and the only structures to survive were cob/Adobe structures. Engineers and architects have however ignored this phenomenon and rebuilt in cement again! Time to realise the orchestrated dehumanisation of such habitats by the chemical construction industry to purposefully use propoganda to encourage their own materials and not suitable structures for the varied world climates and the appropriate materials to keep its inhabitants safe. The breathtaking arrogance that cement and concrete are a cure all is clearly visible in the rubble of any natural disaster in recent times .

author by Connemara Manpublication date Wed Oct 25, 2017 22:49Report this post to the editors

Irish houses were undamaged by the hurricane followed by a storm in the last week.
Good old concrete.
Matchstick American homes would have been blown away.
Americans should build their houses from concrete like the Irish do.

author by Bungalow Billpublication date Thu Oct 26, 2017 09:23Report this post to the editors

Clapperboard homes in the USA are made from the timber plentifully available in America. Wood is a good insulator in the winter. Wood stoves with their elongated piping burn fuel efficiently and warm other rooms in a house. We didn't get hurricane Ophelia recently - we got the worn-out windy version. Our Irish cement homes would have suffered devastating damage if a real hurricane had swept the land.

author by Bungalow Billpublication date Fri Nov 03, 2017 08:05Report this post to the editors

Some people, usually city folk who have moved to the countryside, have taken an interest in eco-homes i.e. built with assorted materials, sometimes double cement walls filled with insulating straw, sometimes grass grown on cement or other kinds of roofs, sometimes mud and stone walls. This won't happen in crowded cities, and you need money to buy country land for your dream eco-home. But if you win the lottery and can escape from suburban two-up and two-down semi-detachment, good luck.

Green-Door Ireland is a small 'movement' of people interested in that kind of thing. It's not for the masses.

Other people, in Cloughjordan in Tipperary, have constructed an eco-village with an organic farm, educational and recreation facilities. Again, money is necessary if you want to settle there.

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