Friday, June 29, 2007

Galveston developement threaten wetlands

"The site of the United States' most deadly natural disaster, the 1900 Hurricane, Galveston Island is one of the most vulnerable targets for a deadly storm strike. The city hangs on the northwest lip of the Gulf of Mexico, with only one major escape route to the mainland and subject to fast-developing cyclones that leave little time for evacuations.

Yet as city planners consider a proposal for the biggest single development of homes, hotels and marinas in the island's history, they are resisting using a $50,000 geological hazard map the city commissioned to help plan safe and sustainable development."

City commission members John Listowski, Kelley Sullivan, Willy Gonzalez and Craig Brown voted to approve a preliminary plat and zone change for the huge new Marquette development project on Galveston’s West End....only three members of the commission — Chula Ross Sanchez, Janice Stanton and Elizabeth Beeton — voted against the project.

On of the members states that "1,000 acres of open ranch land reaching 3 miles down the island from beach to bay, 8 mile road to 11 mile road on Galveston Island is in jeopardy of being smothered in 4,900 units, 2 high rises on the beach, a marina in the wetlands and uplands, a golf course, filling in 74 acres of wetlands for weekend homes. All this in an area cited as a fragile geohazard zone by the Bureau of Economic Geology at the University of Texas."

Dolph Tillotson, publisher's column sunday June 24

Chronicle editorial, June 11, 2007

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Gigacrete- Concrete alternative

via Treehugger and Materialicious
Gigacrete, which has no portland cement but a "proprietary non-toxic binder" made from "a different cementitious binder consisting of commonly found nontoxic elements available from many locations throughout the world."

Up to 80% of the volume of the material is fillers:These fillers include waste bottom ash from coal fired power generation stations, not just the marketable fly ash currently used in Portland-based concrete. Other potential filler materials that could be implemented include waste paper, recycled cardboard, recycled plastics, recycled polystyrene, agricultural waste fibers, and paper sludge.

All of the above materials become fireproof when mixed with the GigaCrete™ binder and can be made very lightweight with strengths close to, and even exceeding, traditional concrete. The new composites have virtually no shrinking or cracking like concrete and can be demolded within eight hours."


- Less carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions are produced from the
manufacture of the GigaCrete™ cement binder than compared to the
manufacture of Portland cement.

- Energy savings can be achieved with the GigaCrete™ PanelSystem due
to the high thermal efficiency and insulating value of the panel
material. According to the “Structural Insulated Panel Association in
Partnership with Oakridge National Labs,” structural paneled homes can
achieve energy savings of up to 70%.

- The GigaCrete™ cement binder is 100% nontoxic.

- GigaCrete™ products use approximately two-thirds less water than conventional Portland-based cement products.

- High resistance to mold, mildew, insects, and vermin facilitates cleaner living environments.

- Reduction of waste materials is achieved due to efficient
manufacturing methods and a building system design that reduces
“on-the-job” waste.

-All GigaCrete™ ash-based products are totally noncombustible and all GigaCrete™ sand-based products will not support flame - thereby reducing the potential for hazardous off-gases
associated with structure fires.

- Eco Friendly StuccoMax-E (environmental) contains 80% (by volume)recycled bottom ash filler material - and is the only stucco product on the market that utilizes bottom ash in such high content.

- Eco Friendly GigaFoam utilizes 100% waste ash as a filler material and is the only waste ash foam on the market.

Read more about them on the Gigacrete site