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Surfin' StrawBale Surfin' Pig; art by Sara Mock. Thanks, Sara! - MJ

Surfin' StrawBale started on June 4, 1996 in St Paul, Minnesota, on M J Epko's used-gum-and-cellophane-tape computer. Over the next couple years it received significant updates and excellent facelifts, thanks principally to the artistic skills and loving guidance of Sara Mock. Also, for its entire life, Surfin' StrawBale has been co-hosted at the excellent Masonry Heater Association's website, thanks to the goodness of Norbert Senf.

In early 2002, MJ Epko came back from the grave bitchin' and swingin' to do another update: the first significant work the site had received since 1999—and it was a retrogressive overhaul, at that. (The classifications were removed, and everything was put back on one huge page. Why? Because it's so very much easier for me to do it that way.) And furthermore, that was probably the last significant update this site's ever
going to have—unless you volunteer to do it yourself.

That said, minor tweaks may happen from time to time with or without a gung-ho volunteer webster to do amazing things with Surfin'. Everyone's encouraged to suggest links, which will appear in Igor's Surfin' Supplement until somebody can get to 'em.



The complete, unexpurgated, alphabetical, annotated compendium, presented for your pleasure in its entirety on one gargantuan page:

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Igor's Surfin' Supplement
Its placement here isn't alphabetically correct, but it is appropriate. Igor's Surfin' Supplement is a user-defined supplement to Surfin' StrawBale, courtesy of hard-workin' Igor (who hides deep in the bowels of the MHA server). Igor gets all goosebumpy and giggly when people write to him to suggest a link.


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Agriboard Industries
Non-toxic, cost-competitive, soundproof, high fire rating, environmentally-friendly insulation material... for those places where bales can be a bit too big (like in interior walls), there's Agriboard. They compress straw to make "durable and highly insulated" panels for inside and out.

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Alta Goldboard
Another strawboard-maker, this one an Alberta, Canada, company supported with regional investments. Terrific stuff in their "Straw Botany" primer; smart baleheads like you will revel in this important info, having inspired insights and drawing appropriate conclusions.

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Amazon Nails
This UK-based company combines vernacular techniques with SB construction, offering courses, talks and demonstrations to empower owner-builders. Todmorden is a ways from Nebraska, but it looks like they're adapting SB to the local bioregions, and keeping an eye on moisture and such with ongoing testing. Lots of great graphics.I met founder and principal Barbara Jones back around '99 or so and was much impressed with her experience and heart.

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Arm of the Spiral
"This web site was created to promote the fusion of sustainable and natural building methods and to encourage the would-be owner/builder to take up his or her courage and Do It!"
(Mar 13/06)

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Aura Borealis
Gallery of cold climate strawbale houses. (Mar '02)

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Ausbale.org
The Australian Straw Bale Building Association. New site online in Nov. 04. Partly under construction. Good FAQ and general information. (Igor, Nov 19/04)

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Australia's Secret! 60 yeal old straw houses
"The five workers’ cottages at Altona were built using thick panels of compressed straw board — the original form of the modern straw panels that are sold today (and even advertised in Earth Garden) by the Melbourne-based company, Solomit."

(April 27/05)

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Authentic Straw Bale Construction Ltd
Building professional straw bale and earth houses to customers design and specification, across New Zealands south island.

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Build a house in two days, using straw
In 27 short sentences, syndicated columnist James T. Dulley answers the question, "Exactly how is a house built with straw bales and is this type of construction very energy efficient?" (Of course, you can't really build a SB house in two days that meets contemporary 'American-suburbs' expectations.)

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Builders Without Borders
BWB is an international network of ecological builders working together for a sustainable future. Good strawbale resources. (Mar '03)

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Building a House of Straw
Read a little about how a Pennsylvania couple built their SB house in the captions of these nicely-exploding thumbnails. This page sits on an interesting commercial website pitched toward large custom homes (their sample contractor schedule is for a [gasp!] 6,000 sf home!), both contractor- and owner-built. Some practical stuff, though, including the article How to Qualify a Contractor and a great kid's page on a couple of master (beaver) builders. Stop by and give 'em your own stories and pet peeves.

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Building A Straw Bale Garage In Edmonton
They built a garage. They built it in Edmonton. They built it with straw bales. And they have pictures to prove it.


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Buildings of Earth and Straw
This is little more than a simple notice about the very existence of the valuable and thought-provoking book by Bruce King, Buildings of Earth and Straw (Structural Design for Rammed Earth and Straw-Bale Architecture). The author took great pains to present the engineer's perspective in a way that the layperson can understand. There were sections that I had to read through a couple times, but it's significant that even innumerate I managed to understand his points. (I think.) I've met Bruce a few times; his knowledge, passion, and demeanor are all top-notch.

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Built By Hand
Over the years, I've tried to keep Surfin' from getting too fawning. I'm about to break that tradition. I'm not sorry.
     Of the most important tenets of the "Natural Building" movement is the use of local materials. This isn't just true for neo-hippie extremists; the increasingly popular LEED program from the mainstream USGBC stresses the same thing.
     In the splendid book Built By Hand: Vernacular Buildings Around The World, over 450 pages of inspiring color photos illustrate the excellent use of minimally-processed local materials and indigenous building methods. The structures range from animal stockades to temples and palaces—but nearly all of the images depict residences.
     The principle presentation is divided into types of materials. A chapter on interior conditioning methods is included, as well as ones about streets, communities, villages and towns. Doors and windows each merit their own attention; so do sculpted features and other embellishments.
     Based on 25 years of breathtaking photography by Yoshio Komatsu, the images speak volumes for themselves. Text is generally limited to a few paragraphs at the beginning of each chapter, along with concise, helpful captions.
     Vernacular building aficionados, people who understand the value of learning from other cultures, and those with an appreciation for high-quality anthropological photography will treasure this book.
     Most of the photographs previously appeared in a Japanese-language book with the English title Living On Earth. If you can find a copy of that one, snap it up too.

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Burbophobia: Strawbale Construction in the Colorado Rockies
Burbophobia is one of the best SB sites going, steeped in grounded wisdom and put together with love and humor by owner-builder Sara Mock (who just happens to have been a co-administrator and mirror host of Surfin' StrawBale). Check out The House Diary and the Colorado Straw Balers home tour for sure.

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CASBA
The California Straw Building Association probably has the highest concentration of big giant baleheads of any regional SB organization. I sat in on one of their meetings (in Angel's Camp, where Mark Twain started writing his story about that Celebrated Jumping Frog), and was blown away. And they know how to party.

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Cal-Earth - California Institute of Earth Art and Architecture
Nader Khalili is an amazing architect, and his ideas about the philosophy and methodology of building are a rich resource, well worth exploring. (reviewed by Igor, Dec 6/04)

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CalMax Helps "Bale" Out Rice Grower
The story of Ron Kampschmidt, a California rice grower, and how he's marketed 240 tons of rice straw through the California Materials Exchange. Check out all the other recycled materials they're making available there, too.

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Camel's Back Construction
An Ontario, Canada, builder's site; also the authors of the book Straw Bale Building: How to Plan, Design and Build with Straw. I met Chris Magwood in 2000 at an international SB conference in Nebraska; he's a smart and likable guy, and his book is well worth having in your library of SB material. (The blurb on the cover attributed to The Last Straw is from a review I wrote when I was the editor there. As it turns out, Chris is the editor there now.)

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The Canelo Project
Ever wonder what Athena and Bill Steen, of The Straw Bale House book fame, do? Well, they do a lot of SB and other stuff with heart, unquenchable spirit, beauty and compassion. And now you can B&B at their place, too! I've been out there a few times, auditing workshops and visitin'. It's one of the best-feeling places I know. (Also see Built By Hand.)

Igor recommends: Poem's House


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Casting a Straw Vote—The First Straw
From the Austin Chronicle's 1994 Green Building issue. It has a journalistically weird lead, but it ain't a bad article. The issue's index is a four-prong thrust: Building Materials, Water Conservation, Energy Efficiency, and Organizations That Can Help.

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The Center for Resourceful Building Technology
It's a thoughtful site which speaks to the concerns of Housing and The Environment. They offer a booklet for sale under their Publications link called Strawbales As A Building Element which "provides general background information on building with straw bales, including discussion of advantages and disadvantages of building with baled straw. This overview includes methods of load-bearing and non-loadbearing applications, roofing and finish work." I've never seen a copy of it, so I'll take them at their word. Also check out the article about "Northside Strawbale," a two-home development in Missoula, Montana, under the Demonstration link.

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Claiborne & Churchill Winery
California vintners whose vintry is built of bales; there are a couple shots of it under the About The Winery link.

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Cob Websites
Not SB, but a complementary straw-utilizing method with great allure and plenty of potential for hybrid structures. The technique can be modified for earthen-plaster applications as well.

I was very happy when the Cob-Web site came up. Co-founders and principals Ianto Evans and Linda Smiley balance each other better than perhaps any other couple I've ever met; it can be quite charming to behold.

Cobworks has inspiring photos from British Columbia. And workshops and stuff, too.


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Complete Owner Builder Systems (COBS)
Recycled steel and strawbale packages including financing. (Oct '00)

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Composting Greenhouse with Straw Bale Foundation
"Our household of 2 adults and three children obtained all our household hot water from a composting greenhouse we constructed in Portland, Oregon in 1994. It provided hot water at a temperature of 90-130 degrees (Fahrenheit) continuously until it was dismantled 18 months later." A thorough article written by the people who built it, with high-quality illustrative pictures.

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Cornertstones
An adobe conservation group. There's a lot to be learned from them.

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CREST's Strawbale Mailing List Archive
Don't miss these real life discussions by folks like you and me, out there hashin' out just how this strawbale stuff works. After you've checked out these archives a bit (or for months and months), if you decide that you'd like to join the email list (sponsored by REPP/CREST), send an email to: strawbale-subscribe@crest.org.

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Daniel Smith and Associates, Architects
DSA has been involved with SB since about the beginning (or earlier), consistently developing and contributing important information and understandings—and soulful buildings—to the movement. Besides being one of the kindest people I've met, Daniel Smith's knowledge, experience, and professionalism are also top-notch. And I wouldn't hesitate to recommend one of his early associates, Bob Theis, either. (Bob can throat-sing!)

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DAWN
Sustainable living systems consultant Joelee Joyce, former co-director of DCAT (below), is now helping others in Developing an Alliance With Nature. DAWN (formerly Out On Bale—By Mail), has expanded from a SB-only resource to include educational materials, training, and info and referral services. If you're in or near southeast Arizona, you'll want to check the calendar. Joelee has excellent intentions and contacts, offers valuable workshops, and has two great little dogs. I don't know how DAWN has managed to stay such an obscure organization.

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DCAT: Development Center for Appropriate Technology
They've redesigned their website, and it's beautiful... but they haven't put back all the information that used to be there yet. One new bonus exists now, however: an ASTM E84-98 Surface Burning Characteristics report is available to download in pdf format.

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Design Guide For Frost-Protected Shallow Foundations
Something good from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development... a must-read for anybody in a deep-frost climate. (Many thanks to John Cropper for the download, conversion, & web posting!)

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EREN link sites
Egad!—it's the U.S. Department Of Energy's Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network's extensive set of links.
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Ecological Building Network
Check out the Straw Bale Construction Research & Testing Program. This is for real; I've met the founder, Bruce King, and—while he does have a lively and sometimes strange sense of humor—the guy doesn't fool around. Read his book Buildings Of Earth And Straw to see what I mean.


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50 Straw Bale House Plans
HFH designer Robert Andrew's total is up past 50 intriguing plans now. We fancy the cut of his jib: "Notice that the average size of these plans (about 1000sf inside) is small by North American standards. My initial interest was in designing small, efficient, strawbale houses that are easy to build (owner/builder friendly), do not require a mortgage (pay as you go), are expandable (as you have the money), and are fun to build and live in." I've met this guy; he's a lot smart and a little crazy—in a good way. Kind of like his website.

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Green Planet Homes
Green Planet Homes is based in Western Canada. Our homes are built using straw bales and other natural building materials. We are a member of the OSBBC (Ontario Straw Bale Building Coalition) and part of the Harvest Homes family of builders. (August 3/04)


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Hank and Anita Carr's Straw Bale Builders and Straw Bale Enthusiasts Website
"Lots of good info on recently completed southeastern Ontario project. Offer tours." (Dec 15/03)

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Harvest Homes
A Canadian builder's site aiming to create a Canada-centric place on the web for SB. That's cool. And the online estimator will be cool, too, when it gets up and going. I met Harvest Home's founder Ben Polley at the 2000 international strawbale conference in Nebraska. He's a nice guy.

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Haven Craft Natural Homes
"We live and work in the Bancroft, Ontario area, but do take on projects in the Central/Eastern Ontario general area." (April 27/05)

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High Performance Building Systems, LLC
This is a lovely-looking site that sells steel-framed SB kits. I was a little iffie about this concept at first, but when I finally met founder Tony Perry (one of the early SB resurgence pioneers), he was able to give me a satisfactory answer for every question I threw at him. So there it is. I still don't plan on buying one, but I'm a lot more comfortable about it than I used to be if you want to.

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A House of Straw
Carolyn and her two teenage sons have built a small, load-bearing straw bale house in the Sonoran desert near Tucson with earthen plasters and an earthen floor. She wrote a book about it; a good read.

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Huff And Puff-Proof Homes
An itty-bitty newsbrief from Mother Jones magazine. Like most articles about strawbale construction from mass-appeal periodicals, this is as positive as it is short. It won't tell you how to build your house, but it will make you feel good about doing it.

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Huff 'N' Puff Constructions
Owner-builder advocates on the Oz side of the planet. I think John Glassford's the David Eisenberg of Australia, working tirelessly to convince the local officials of the viability of SB, and all the while promoting sustainable building in that part of the world. There's a great page with hard data on why we need to be doing things differently worldwide; and their Building with Straw page has detailed info on techniques especially applicable to specific bioregions and conditions... like making the buildings ant- and termite-proof. I'm very proud to consider John Glassford my friend (and "friend" isn't a term I use lightly).

Check out the new site, updated October/08 -- Igor

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Hummingbird B&B
Hummingbird strawbale home and B&B plus Adobe Studio in southern Oregon
Lots of photos including construction! (Nov 23/09)

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Igor's Surfin' Supplement
A user-defined supplement to Surfin' StrawBale, courtesy of hard-workin' Igor (who hides deep in the bowels of the MHA server). Igor gets all goosebumpy and giggly when people write to him to suggest a link.


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Intentional Community of Rochester, Indiana
"Focusing on strawbale and other sustainable methods of house construction." (Oct 14/03)

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International Straw Bale Building Registry
Support this initiative by registering your structure. "The aggregate numbers will be useful in such things as lobbying insurance companies, mortgage companies, building officials, and other such sticks-in-the-mud, and will also be useful in further popularizing SB to the general public world wide. Reading in a magazine article that 'over $xxx million in strawbale construction already exists in North America' can have a strong effect on our credibility. The Registry will also act as a contact list for future research and performance testing."

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Internet Hay Exchange—Hay For Sale
Straw too. Bale providers listed by state.

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IronStraw Group
This one will be of particular interest to U.S. Northwesterners, but even if you're not one of those you'd be doing yourself a favor to look this one over. One of IronStraw's beauties is their support of owner-builders through consulting and workshops.

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The Last Straw
This is the mother-lode. TLS is the strawbale construction periodical. If you're interested in this stuff, these folks are it.

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Les Compaillons
French strawbale construction network

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Lighthook's Strawbale House Page
Another oldie-but-goodie. Their links page is almost a complete washout these days, but most of the other info still rocks. Tour the whole thing, particularly their Strawbale Structural Components page. (A couple of the techniques described have fallen from favor, supplanted by different means of accomplishing the same thing—but overall, it's still one of the most thorough overviews on the 'net.) Also take a look at the STRAP page—a great idea in need of nurture.

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Living Shelter Design— Architects
"We design,consult, and give workshops in the pacific northwest." (Jan '03)

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Living Sol
"Consultation, design and building; Killaloe, Ontario." (Sept '03)

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LX&R Design
Architect R. F. Alexander of Espanola NM has combined his experience with adobe and passive solar to create hybrid as well as regular straw bale construction. This site has floorplans and photos to inspire you.

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La Maison en Paille
New French website on strawbale construction activities in Europe
(in French). Includes a section on masonry heaters, with photo stories on 2 masonry heater workshops in Holland (Reviewed by Igor, Dec '04)

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Masonry Heater Association—links page
The MHA site maintained by Norbert Senf has some pretty great stuff tucked in its various corners, and it's not all about masonry heaters. Spend some time hangin' out at the mall (it's not what you think), and you'll find info that will change your life for the better. Be sure to hit their Library—check out the Articles and Technical Papers there. (All that and they host a mirror of Surfin' StrawBale—a sure sign of a quality website.) Wait, there's something else:
Masonry Stove Builders—links page
The MSB links are similar to, but different than, the MHA links—and being as how you enjoyed those so much, it would be foolish not to browse these. Right?


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Mehr Construction
Specializing in Straw Bale Construction
Our mission is to create healthy, super-efficient homes that inspire communities and breathe environmentally responsible construction.
We proudly present The Straw Bale Village, a community within the National Historic Landmark city of Jacksonville, Oregon. (August 6/04)

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Moisture Properties of Plaster and Stucco for Strawbale Buildings
This pdf (Acrobat) file is the kind of thing that makes smart people go "ahh, ooh." I'm absolutely serious. Even if you're not smart (and I have a hard time believing that you aren't), read this. (From the MHA Library's Special Collections.)

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Moisture Sensor Study
From Don Fugler and the good folks at the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (by way of the Masonry Heater Association Library's Special Collections). They developed an inexpensive way to monitor SB houses for moisture content in the walls, and studied a few over time. More data on moisture is always a Good Thing, so contact them if you'd like to help out. (Seems to me that the best moisture peace of mind you could get would be installing a few inexpensive meters in your walls so that you'll know if you've sprung a leak or something.)

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Natural Building Photo Gallery
Oodles of natural and alternative building photos.

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Natural Building Resources
A good introduction to all types of alternative building, this site also includes a selection of book & videos for sale. (More from these folks: NetWorks Productions, the Black Range Lodge, Builders Without Borders...)

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Natural Homes
Extensive list of strawbale courses. Map of strawbale home locations

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New Shelters
Design/build of strawbale and timberframe homes in Western Wisconsin. (Nov '00)

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Newton House
The Newton House explores the decision of sustainable building, and provides options for housing design, building materials and household utilities. Updates can be viewed of this strawbale house through the journal and data monitoring pages.

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Of Earthships and Straw Bales
"We are building two Non-Load Bearing 1800+ exterior square foot Straw Bale houses, modified post and beam using box columns, and are posting photos of our progress as we go." Lots of photos! Don't let the flat-roof-with-parapets fool you; it's still not a good idea for SB, even in the desert.

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One World Design
Whew—check out the resume on Kelly Lerner! SB projects in the US, China, Mongolia, and Argentina. Lots of photos. It's been my fortune to meet Kelly a number of times. Her intelligence and passion make her one of my favorite people in SB.

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Ontario Straw Bale Building Coalition
Informative website, worth a visit. Detailed descriptions and stats on a number of houses. (Ig)
"Services include general information, training courses, providing testing data for building designers and building inspectors, and referrals for experienced builders and designers."

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Ortech Industries Pty Ltd
"Easiboard combines desirable properties of strength, thermal and sound insulation together with fire resistance. 100% natural building panels manufactured from rice straw or wheaten straw or a combination of both raw materials."

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Our Straw Bale Home
"We are building our home on 8 acres in the Highland Gap community near Scaly Mountain, North Carolina." (Jan '04)

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Pacific Gold Board
"PGB is a rigid gypsum drywall alternative requiring no studs. Covered with linerboard, this strawboard comes in 2-1/4-inch thick by 4'x8' panels. It stands alone and is taped and floated just like regular gypsum board. PGB has internal electrical chases for convenient wiring. It absorbs sound, saves up to 7% of floor space, and can be re-used and composted. PGB has an inner core of straw, compressed and bonded under extreme heat and pressure, and covered with 69# recycled content Kraft linerboard paper that will take paint or any appropriate wall covering."

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Paso Robles Straw Bale Construction
San Luis Obispo County in California
(Jan 28/05)

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Patrick Marcotte
Interesting strawbale house. (Mar '02)

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Patterson Straw Bale Cottage, Maine
Nice site, worth a visit. (Nov '02)


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Paso Straw Bale Construction Chronology
300+ Pics Of Straw Bale Construction

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Pilot Study of Moisture Control in Stuccoed Straw Bale Walls
Fibrehouse's study of houses and experimental buildings in cold and humid Quebec, "to determine the nature and severity of the moisture threats to the durability of the stucco-strawbale sandwich wall including modern stucco cases." This study was sponsored by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation. That's right: the Canadian federal government.

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Pima County Prescriptive Building Code for Load Bearing and Non-Load-Bearing Straw Bale Construction
The first adopted straw bale building code in the U.S. (June '03)

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PlanetarySystems.com
"Products and systems promoting renewable energy and sustainable living." (Apr 6/02)

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Plastered straw bale construction: A waste to a resource
Hop on the way-back machine and read a 1993 article by David Bainbridge written for Sustainable Agriculture Newsletter. David Bainbridge, co-author of The Straw Bale House.

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Portland Community College's Straw Bale Construction Project
Building A House of Straw (November 1998)—"How durable are straw-bale buildings in the wet northwest climate? In hopes of finding out, students and staff at PCC's engineering department constructed a small straw bale structure in the Summer of 1996."
The Straw Bale Hut Turns Five (December, 2000)—"The hut has two different solar systems that power the 40 sensors taking readings on moisture, humidity, and temperature..."

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Post and Beam Frame, Multi-story, Hillside, Straw Bale Home
An Oregon family lets us in on their house plans by way of Experiments in Sustainable Urban Living. Lots of thought on display here. Are you this prepared?

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Prelitz Design Build
Green Builder in Laguna Beach, CA

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Reckless Orchard
Landscape Architecture

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Red Feather Development Group
They were on Oprah, they're in her Angel Network. They do good things.

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Richard & Robin's Straw Bale Cabin
When I lived in Minnesota, I knew people who would have looked at this page and actually said, "Oh, for cute!" Lots and lots of captioned photos of a gorgeous little peaked-roof cabin. And it clocked in at only nine bucks per square foot, US dollars. You can do this.

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The Robin's Nest
A handful of uncaptioned shots of the making of what is claimed to be the world's largest loadbearing strawbale building: a bed-and-breakfast in Canada.

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SBAT—Straw Bale Association of Texas
"The Straw Bale Association of Texas is dedicated to promoting straw bale construction in Texas. The group is based in Austin, but is a focal point for straw bale building activity across the state." Biggest draw for non-Texans to this site would be these pics.

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SBBA (WISE)
The Straw Bale Building Association for Wales, Ireland, Scotland and England. If you're in any of those countries, these are the people to see.

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Secret Base Design
A New York and California licensed architecture firm, affiliated with Laura Lee Intscher, Architect.
" Everyone understands the difference between a house and a home. The design goal is to go one step further..."

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Skillful Means Builders
This is a good one. Got questions? Want pictures? Take a look. John Swearingen and the gang have a friendly and thorough site going.

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Solar Living Center
Real Goods, "the world's most complete source for knowledge, products, and tools for renewable energy and sustainable living," shows off its somewhat startling grounds. The 5000-sq-ft showroom was constructed with over 800 rice straw bales.

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Solstice... er, CREST... er, REPP
Everything seems to link to this—whatever it's called this year. So there must be a good reason for it, eh? Go see.

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Sourcebook Straw Bale
From the Sustainable Building Sourcebook: "Definition, Considerations, Commercial Status, Implementation Issues, Guidelines, Resources, Professional Assistance, Components / Materials / Systems, General Assistance, Internet Resources." The Sourcebook is hosted by Sustainable Sources, true friends of natural building. Check 'em out.

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Straw Bale Cabin
in Alberta, Canada. (Oct '01)

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State of California Guidelines for Straw-bale Structures
The good folks at Skillful Means Builders have put up them wunnerful guidelines in one big hunk. If you're hankering to see California's own copy (with URLs longer than the code), here's part 1, part 2, and part 3.

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Straw Bale Construction: an Update
Three articles about SB from the San Diego Earth Times. The first one's an overview; the second one, "Straw Bale Evangelism Takes Off", is about the American-Mexican building partnership of Bob Bolles with Roberto Valdez; and the last one, " Habitat for Humanity Goes for Straw", is about a Habitat for Humanity project, a day care center in Rosarito. Did I mention that these were published in 1996? Yep, right there on the cutting edge. But what's this? They already were writing about it in 1994: "Straw bale construction: try huffing and puffing these houses down".

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StrawBale.Com
Web portal for strawbale info:
articles, links to architects, contractors, instructional DVD's, plans, consulting.

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Straw Bale Construction: Beautiful Sustainable Buildings
It's Kim Thompson's pioneering Straw House Herbals house in Nova Scotia. This site links to excellent articles that appeared in The Last Straw about the construction and wall monitoring (temperature and moisture) that took place. A videotape is also available which "documents the construction stage by stage in order to give potential straw bale builders as much information as possible to aid them in their own projects"—very cool. (And now, every bit as cool as that, go see about this!) I met Kim at a Natural Building Colloquium in Maryland in 1998. I also met my future wife there, but didn't realize it at the time.

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Strawbale Details
"This site offers for sale 47 drawings ranging from straw bale specifications to a complete example wall with door and window openings. Ten drawings show different methods for footings and tiedowns. Different ways of strapping walls and handling tops of walls are provided."

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Strawbale.co.uk
This website will gradually become the premier place for information on Straw Bale Construction projects in the UK and Europe.
However for the time being we have an option for you to sign up to receive our Newsletter. (Feb19/06)

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Strawbale Cottage
Accomodations near Hepburn Springs, Australia. (Mar '02)

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Straw Bale Home Construction
In a site from El Paso, Texas, dedicated to solar energy, Catherine Wanek of Black Range Films talks about building with straw. Good solar and alternative building links too.

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Straw Bale House at Swarthmore College
A SB structure built in 1994 that was measured continuously for temperature, humidity, moisture content, etc... and then dismantled in 1998 and carefully examined. The folks at Swarthmore College tried some techniques that bear more looking into: a FPSF, bales used as concrete forms, and a mostly sand and lime stucco with whitewash finish. Good details, good pics; sure hope they eventually upload all the monitored results.

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Strawbalehouse.co.uk
Interesting vaulted design, registered with the patent office

straw

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Strawbale House Plans
"Small, affordable, sustainable strawbale house plans". (Apr 22/09)

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Strawbale Plaster Report
Draft report on research conducted by John Straube; 80 kB PDF file. (Aug '00)

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Straw Specialties
Northwest's largest supplier of certified noxious-weed-free straw. (Mar '02)

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Straw Bale Trading Post
What most endears me to this site is the giant photo of a rotting 2x6.

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The Straw Coffin
Funny? Alarming? Touching? Stupid? Hey, it's your funeral.

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The Straw House Blog
"In 2002 Glen Hunter & Joanne Sokolowski started building a house. It's made of straw, it's off the grid. This is their story." (April 27/05)

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Straw Houses and Other Uses for Straw
A brief article from the UK, culled from other articles written in 1992—nineteen-ninety-two!—about this odd new idea of straw houses. It's from the Global Ideas Bank, "an international suggestion box for socially innovative non-technological ideas and projects."

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Straw: The Next Great Building Material?
Reprint of an excellent introductive article published in Environmental Building News; pictures, charts, drawings... a good thing to visit. Links to associated material as well, including the sounds-worse-than-it-is article R-Value of Straw Bales Lower Than Previously Reported.

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Strawbale.com.au
Strawbale design, construction and workshops
(Jan 7/05)

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Strawbale Information Centre
"You CAN Build Your Own Home!! Thanks to the efforts of a few practical-minded zealots, building with strawbale has not only been preserved as a valuable technology, it's being recognized as an increasingly popular alternative housing option... This site is a brief introduction to the field. There's no substitute for hands-on experience, so have a look around, then turn off the computer and start stacking!"

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Strawbale Studio Natural Building Site
A great example of sustainability, this building in Michigan was started in 1997 on an experimental permit. It has a fieldstone foundation of stones from their own field, earthen floors and exterior, and a thatched roof from locally-harvested reeds (phragmites). Beauty! This place is a place I've been wanting to visit for what can now officially be described as "years." I've met Deanne, and I've met Carolyn; and having got to know them, I'm certain that the pictures are only hinting at just how cool this place is.

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Strawbale Technical Documents Site
Wiki Books - pretty cool.

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Strawbale Vacation Rental
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
(Jan 28/05)

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Strawbuildings.co.uk
Today approximately 1000 new structures are being built annually all over the world.There are about 70 in the UK and 10 in Ireland at the present time, some with full planning permission and building regulation approval.
(Jan 30/09)

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Strawmark
Check out this professional srawbale consrtruction company in New Zealand - Igor.

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StrawSale.com
"StrawSale.com is your premiere source for buying straw bales in the United States"

(Oct 6/08)

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Strobouw Nederland
The Dutch strawbale associations website. Most pages 
are either also in english. General straw bale 
information pertinent to Dutch circumstances, project descriptions, technical pages including a bi-directional conversion page for metric to imperial measures.

(Sept '08)

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Sustainable Build.co.uk
Eco-Friendly Building Tips & Advice

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Sven's Strohballenseite
SB and passive solar designer Sven put up this German site to translate some of the better-known SB resources for his building community. He covers the basics of SB and takes his inspiration from David Eisenberg's code work to include the development of German-European building standards and details. Danke Sven!

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Syncronos Design
"Featuring: Straw bale, adobe, cob, and other alternative and green building materials." (Sept '02)

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Taos Red Willow Project
"About the experience of learning how to build a space conscious, "eco-nomical", strawbale & adobe, appropriate technology home."
First straw bale blog to make it to this list.
(Jan 7/05)

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Taylor Marketing and Publishing
Plenty of people like this mail-order place. Word is that Charmaine tries hard to make sure people are satisfied, and it seems that the customers appreciate it.

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Terra Sol Design & Building
30 years of Ecologically Sustainable Building

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Testing Straw Bale Construction in the Soggy Northwest
Soggy Northwesters, take note! This University of Oregon research project is also a 2-story SB dormitory at the Aprovecho Research Center. There's a lot to think about here—and let me remind you again how important thinking is. Snap judgements, blind acceptance, uninformed supposition... just say no. Despite how it may seem to the more careless reader, this page draws almost no conclusions. Be wise. (Swelling and exploding bales?! For pity's sake, ridiculous!)

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The Rural Independent
Straw Bale Construction Page

Very good page of extensive resources. (June '09)

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The Sustainable Home
Very well thought out website with sustainable building information. Definitely worth a look.

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Tirolessa USA Mortar and Stucco Sprayer
"We are now shipping our new made in the USA sprayers!
They now have changeable jets, a swivel handle and a wrap around hopper handle. Many of our customers use them for traditional stuccos and plasters with thicknesses of 1/4" to 1" per lift. Earthen and alternative plasters like Papercrete have also been used with great success." (July 27/09)


Tom's First Straw Bale Structure
The commentary you're reading here used to say, "Tom talks about it, and gives us a couple good pictures and twice as many links. (Click on the pics, they explode nicely.)" Now, however, the commentary you're reading here says, "There isn't a lot to recommend this page other than the two photos, which don't really seem all that good anymore. The links are all dead or redirected. But it's been here since almost the beginning, and I just can't bear to delete it—so enjoy."

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http://uzutekis.voriukai.net/
First Lithuanian strawbale house. (May '03)

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Villa Millenium
4,500 sq. ft. strawbale house for sale in Texas. (May '03)

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Women Build Houses
I'll say they do. Y'know, I have to admit (being a sensitive new-age guy and all), that I kinda thought that women-only workshops and clubs and stuff were actually counter-productive to ending sexism... until I met Shay Salomon and some of the other women involved in this organization, and they 'splained some things. Then, to drive the point home, a couple years later I happened to be at the Lama Foundation when there was a concurrent WBH workshop, and I saw (when there was shared time, at meals and things) how powerful and transformative it was for the participants. Yeah. While I'm still suspicious of anything that's exclusive of anybody based on gender (or anything else, real or imagined), these people are doing something good in just that framework.

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Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?
Pretty big graphics, but worth the wait in a small article on the Huff 'n' Puff Inn and the Kelleher residence, both in Arizona.

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Wood chip and Light-clay Infill Systems
There isn't anything about strawbale in this article. And yet I want you to read it anyway.


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Yourhomeplanet
"Environmental Building Design & Green Building Construction Searchable Web Portal." (July '01)

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Igor's Surfin' Supplement
It's placement here isn't alphabetically correct, but it is appropriate. Igor's Surfin' Supplement is a user-defined supplement to Surfin' StrawBale, courtesy of hard-workin' Igor (who hides deep in the bowels of the MHA server). Igor gets all goosebumpy and giggly when people write to him to suggest a link.


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Content and web formattin' by duckchow and chizz

Updated on July 10, 2013