Oak Ridge National Laboratory


News Release

Media Contact: Fred Strohl (strohlhf@ornl.gov)
Communications and External Relations


ORNL straw bale wall tests to include international contest on the Internet

OAK RIDGE, Tenn., Feb. 16, 1998 — Construction and testing of a full-sized wall made of straw bale will be conducted at the Buildings Technology Center (BTC) of the Department of Energy's (DOE) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) Feb. 24-27 with a contest to follow to calculate the wall's R-value (resistance to heat transfer).

The wall will be built and its thermal performance tested by an international group composed of students from the Green Magnet Math and Science Academy, an elementary school in Knoxville, Tenn., and the International Relations Lyceum No. 51 in Kiev, Ukraine. These groups will analyze the wall's thermal performance and prepare a report on their findings.

Students from around the world are being invited to monitor the activity on the Internet and participate in calculating the R-value of the wall. Photos of the construction process will be updated on the Internet every 15 minutes.

The straw wall will cure for 30 days after construction before it is tested in a climate control facility at the BTC. Data from the tests will be published on the Internet for program participants to analyze. Participants must e-mail their R-value conclusions to the Oak Ridge facility by May 1.

A live chat room on the BTC's home page with the construction crew will be available during the four days of construction. The web site for the chat room and more information about the program is available at http://www.ornl.gov/roofs+walls.

ORNL, one of DOE's multiprogram national research and development facilities, is managed by Lockheed Martin Energy Research Corporation.