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FIND YOUR DREAM HOME OR APARTMENT

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37Comments
Mar 18, 2010 3:30PM
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There is no such thing as a carbon footprint. Al Gore is an idiot and so are you for believing him.
Mar 18, 2010 2:03PM
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I write from Scottsdale, AZ -- Valley of the the Sun. A few years ago, I visited a training stable which had built a straw bale place to house a groom. A horse owner had moved in, however, and found it clean and quite adequate. Tiny, not much light because so little window space, stuccoed inside and out. But in the soaring Arizona summer heat, with no air conditioning, you could step inside and it was comfortably cool. The insulation factor is amazing. The only negative I heard was that after complying with all building codes, it wasn't as cheap as they had hoped. It was, nonetheless, an impressive little place.

Mar 18, 2010 8:30AM
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In Colorado there is a Home build out of straw that makes stuctures look like medevial homes. This home is in the Mountains west of Boulder Colorado with a R-value of over 45 in the walls as well as the ceilingalong with special insulated windows therefore their heating/airconditioning bills are less than $50.00 per month. They have heated acid stained concrete floors and special fiber lightning for several rooms. The author should have done more reasearch and should have included this home as it is truely one of a kind with the architechture. On eof the most unique homes I've ever been in.
Mar 18, 2010 4:30AM
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I have built three straw bale homes over the years for clients and there are pitfalls depending on which type of straw bale construction method you use. First is non load bearing which is where the straw bales are not used to carry the load of the roof structure, and are just used to infill between supports. The other is a load bearing type of which I don't recommend period.

 Obtaining a permit is more difficult as this not a standard building practice as well as obtaining financing for the project for the same reason. As for the cost of constructing one, they are more expensive period, for many reasons. But I'm need to head off to work and will continue this after I get back home this evening. If your serious about constructing one of these homes please post your questions and I'll do my best to answer them.

Feb 15, 2010 1:11PM
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For related info please checkout the Good Entrepreneur contest broadcast in Europe by CNBC. One proposal was for ModCell™: ModCell™ is a prefabricated straw or hemp cladding system that can be used in housing and commercial buildings. ModCell™ is one of the first products to make large-scale, carbon-negative building a commercial reality. Other ideas included a process to recycle waste water. See site for info:

http://www.goodentrepreneur.com/The-Competition/Entries-Pool/Photosynthetic-Architecture-or-Grow-you​r-Own

Feb 15, 2010 12:23PM
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One question--- why wasn't the straw house seen that was built in Albuquerque, in the late 90's, by a member of the Unser Family?  I t was the talk of the city at the time, and was beautiful.  I use to pass it every day on my way to work.
Feb 15, 2010 12:20PM
Feb 15, 2010 11:37AM
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WHAT TYPE MIXTURE DID THE ROMANS USE FOR THEIR BLDGS?  WAS THE MUD SPECIAL?  DID IT HAVE TO BE TRAMPLED LIKE GRAPES?  WHAT TYPE GRAIN STRAW WORKS BEST,  BARLY, WHEAT, ETC.? 
Feb 15, 2010 9:55AM
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build an adobe or sod house in any place other the desert, adn you will quickly find out about errosion. 
Feb 15, 2010 9:52AM
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SOD BUSTERS built it out of straw, but they used buffalo Shix! held up, but smelled awaful, and how many are around today? not many, they are all blowing in the wind! tornado wind.
Feb 15, 2010 9:51AM
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and U think trailers are dangerous in a tornado or hurricane!!! yikes! i lived in OHIO, in a toranado ally spot, north of Findlay, and i use to see straw DRIVEN into trees like pickup sticks, they travel like bullets!!! hang on to Toto, or invite all gore over.
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The projection here calms the nerves of the enthusiast - yes, I support this approach to the N-th degree.   Some time ago a straw home in South Dakota was viewed on T.V. having been built some 40-50 years earlier and was in first class condition.  Upon construction the actual ground site was built-up for a small distance from  the surrounding ground level to eliminate the problem of ground water from the area.    Don't recall the cost of heating but was about a third of my winter heating bill, as I remember.  The outside was stucco - the original coating.  Could not find anything wrong with the unit and with the new insulated windows, this type of residence certainly does hold promise for the needs of the ambitious person for hobby and home.  So close to the soul!
Feb 15, 2010 8:36AM
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All building materials are innovated, used for years.  I don't want to live in straw hut like our ancients.  However, I like the idea to use straw syntheticated to make building products.  Anything on this earth is counted, inventoried.

Feb 15, 2010 8:13AM
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Yea, were really enjoying this "global warming" here in Virginia with over two feet of snow on the ground, and one of the coldest winters on record.
Feb 15, 2010 7:59AM
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Well, this all looks fine and dandy...until a big bad wolf comes along.

 

He's gonna huff, and puff, and....well you know the rest.

Feb 15, 2010 7:13AM
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Building Green I think is great.  However, my concern is that many areas have building codes which many of these techniques would not be allowed by the governing authorities.  Also, if the hay gets wet and you are not aware of the issue then you have a problem on your hands.  How easy would it be to correct he decomposition, mold, and infestation?  That would also pose as a possible health issue.   My thoughts are that is could work ok in areas which do not get much rain and are dry climate areas but for how long.  The typical stick built house lasts on an average of 75 years if no modernization and minimal repairs are made.   Growing up on a farm and being familiar with playing in a hay barn, it was great  fun, until it got wet and the decomposition and mold set in.  Also the rodents and insects like it too.   hmmm - interesting concept though.  However, I personally would choose other methods that would provide better means of longevity.

Feb 15, 2010 6:56AM
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Interesting but massive use of this technique would reduce the amount of straw available.  The vasr majority of harvesting today leaves the straw in the field and is plowed back into the soil which helps control erosion and improves yield for next years production.
Feb 15, 2010 6:49AM
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Straw bale houses are less likely to catch fire than stick built homes because the straw is packed tightly and is sandwiched between two non-flammable walls.  Think of it this way, if you light a piece of newspaper it burns quickly, but if you tightly roll the newspaper up it will have a much harder time catching fire.   About your second question, the straw settling or rotting.  On the website, strawbale.com he recommends at least 7 pounds per cubic foot and to let the straw bales settle before continuing the construction process.  Also, the straw bales should be completely dry and have a very low moisture content reading.  This is only one of several moisture proofing steps in the building process.  If all of the steps are followed you should not have any rot to worry about.
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