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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
"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!"
Gallery of cold climate strawbale houses. (Mar '02)
The Australian Straw Bale Building Association. New site online in Nov.
04. Partly under construction. Good FAQ and general information. (Igor,
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."
Authentic Straw Bale Construction Ltd
Building professional straw bale and earth houses to customers design and specification, across New Zealands south island.
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'
BWB is an international network of ecological builders working together
for a sustainable future. Good strawbale resources. (Mar '03)
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
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.
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
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
Over the years, I've tried to keep Surfin' from getting too fawning.
I'm about to break that tradition. I'm not sorry.
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.
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.
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.
- 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)
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.
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.)
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
Igor recommends: Poem's
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.
The Center for Resourceful
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
& Churchill Winery
California vintners whose vintry is built of bales; there are a couple
shots of it under the About The Winery link.
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.
inspiring photos from British Columbia. And workshops and stuff, too.
Builder Systems (COBS)
Recycled steel and strawbale packages including financing. (Oct
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.
An adobe conservation group. There's a lot to be learned from them.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Daniel Smith and
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!)
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.
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.
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!)
EREN link sites
Egad!—it's the U.S. Department Of Energy's Energy
Efficiency and Renewable Energy Network's extensive set of links.
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.
50 Straw Bale
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.
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)
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)
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.
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
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.
A House of
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.
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.
'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
Hummingbird strawbale home and B&B plus Adobe Studio in southern Oregon
Lots of photos including construction! (Nov 23/09)
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
Community of Rochester, Indiana
"Focusing on strawbale and other sustainable methods of house construction."
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."
Hay Exchange—Hay For Sale
Straw too. Bale providers listed by state.
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.
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.
French strawbale construction network
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.
"We design,consult, and give workshops in the pacific northwest." (Jan
"Consultation, design and building; Killaloe, Ontario." (Sept '03)
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.
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)
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
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
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.
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)
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
Library's Special Collections.)
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.)
Building Photo Gallery
Oodles of natural and alternative building photos.
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
Extensive list of strawbale courses. Map of strawbale home locations
Design/build of strawbale and timberframe homes in Western Wisconsin. (Nov '00)
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.
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.
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.
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."
"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."
Straw Bale Home
"We are building our home on 8 acres in the Highland Gap community near
Scaly Mountain, North Carolina." (Jan '04)
"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."
Straw Bale Construction
San Luis Obispo County in California
Interesting strawbale house. (Mar '02)
Patterson Straw Bale
Nice site, worth a visit. (Nov '02)
Paso Straw Bale Construction Chronology
300+ Pics Of Straw Bale Construction
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
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)
"Products and systems promoting renewable energy and sustainable living."
straw bale construction: A waste to a resource
Hop on the
way-back machine and read a 1993 article by David Bainbridge written
Agriculture Newsletter. David Bainbridge, co-author of The
Straw Bale House.
Portland Community College's Straw Bale Construction Project
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."
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..."
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?
Prelitz Design Build
Green Builder in Laguna Beach, CA
They were on Oprah, they're in her Angel Network. They do good things.
& 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.
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
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
The Straw Bale Building Association for Wales, Ireland, Scotland and
England. If you're in any of those countries, these are the people to
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..."
This is a good one. Got questions? Want pictures? Take a
look. John Swearingen and the gang have a friendly and thorough site
"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.
Solstice... er, CREST...
Everything seems to link to this—whatever it's called this year. So
there must be a good reason for it, eh? Go see.
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.
in Alberta, Canada. (Oct '01)
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
2, and part
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".
Web portal for strawbale info:
articles, links to architects, contractors, instructional DVD's, plans,
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.
"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."
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)
Accomodations near Hepburn Springs, Australia. (Mar '02)
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.
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.
Interesting vaulted design, registered with the patent office
Strawbale House Plans
"Small, affordable, sustainable strawbale house plans". (Apr 22/09)
Draft report on research conducted by John Straube; 80 kB PDF file. (Aug '00)
Northwest's largest supplier of certified noxious-weed-free straw. (Mar
Bale Trading Post
What most endears me to this site is the giant photo of a rotting 2x6.
Funny? Alarming? Touching? Stupid? Hey, it's your funeral.
The Straw House
"In 2002 Glen Hunter & Joanne Sokolowski started building
a house. It's made of straw, it's off the grid. This is their story."
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."
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
of Straw Bales Lower Than Previously Reported.
Strawbale design, construction and workshops
"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!"
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.
Technical Documents Site
Wiki Books - pretty cool.
Steamboat Springs, Colorado
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
Check out this professional srawbale consrtruction company in New
Zealand - Igor.
"StrawSale.com is your premiere source for buying straw bales in the United States"
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.
Eco-Friendly Building Tips & Advice
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!
"Featuring: Straw bale, adobe, cob, and other alternative and green
building materials." (Sept '02)
Red Willow Project
"About the experience of learning how to build a space conscious,
"eco-nomical", strawbale & adobe, appropriate technology
First straw bale blog to make it to this list.
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.
Sol Design & Building
30 years of Ecologically Sustainable Building
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!)
The Rural Independent
Straw Bale Construction Page
Very good page of extensive resources. (June '09)
The Sustainable Home
Very well thought out website with sustainable building information. Definitely worth a look.
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)
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."
First Lithuanian strawbale house. (May '03)
4,500 sq. ft. strawbale house for sale in Texas. (May '03)
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.
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.
chip and Light-clay Infill Systems
There isn't anything about strawbale in this article. And yet I want
you to read it anyway.
"Environmental Building Design & Green Building Construction Searchable
Web Portal." (July '01)
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.
Content and web formattin' by duckchow
Updated on July 10, 2013