|RE: Straw Bale?||<– Date –> <– Thread –>|
|From: Lynn Nadeau (welcomeolympus.net)|
|Date: Mon, 27 Apr 1998 23:43:14 -0500|
Strawbale can be cheap and it can be an agricultural waste product, but it isn't always. Here in the Pacific Northwest the straw is purchased from a competitive market with mushroom growers, horse farmers, and Japanese mat-making suppliers. The thick walls which for many people translate into a feel of home-y, substantial, special space can, in a cloudy damp climate serve to further cut the amount of sunlight that gets through a deep window. The high insulative values of the walls need to be matched with a super-insulated roof, or your insulation is only as good as your roof. Unlike conventional construction, which can be undertaken almost year-round in the NW, strawbale needs to wait for a good weather window. Much of the economy of strawbale construction is based on a lot of sweat equity. How feasible this is depends in part on which variety of straw bales are reasonably priced in your area. Some kinds come in bigger heavier bales than others, making them more of a challenge for amateur work-parties. On the up side, there are a great many strawbale enthusiasts -- Greenfire Institute and others-- and you may be able to get dozens of people to come pitch in for the experience (sometimes they'll even pay for a hands-on workshop experience). It goes well with stucco, which can also be a work-party project. Permitting varies. There are straight associations that have given their seal of approval, but local building departments may be unconvinced. One reason we decided against strawbale for our common house was that no A3 (assembly) public building had ever been permitted in strawbale in this town. We were afraid that even if we got someone in the City to say OK, that person could go away mid-project and their successor could pull the plug on us. Under our local circumstances, even the big honcho expert strawbale architect around here said we could expect it to cost as much or more than conventional construction. Note also that there is "load-bearing" strawbale and "in-fill" strawbale, wherein conventional wooden framing has bales filled in for insulation and wall substance. Sooo, be sure to check out your local situation, anyone who is contemplating the joys of strawbaling! Lynn at RoseWind, Port Townsend WA where all sorts of home construction systems co-exist: present homes include conventional stick frame, 2 of "rastra-block" (Ener-grid) blocks of recycled styrofoam and concrete, one with sheet-metal siding, 2 recycled buildings (each half of a former bingo parlor at the local fairgrounds), a geodesic dome, and --starting in a month or two-- a strawbale home.
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