"The search for housing that is healthy, affordable and environmentally responsible is leading a growing number of people to take a fresh look at building techniques long-shunned by the modern construction industry. Earth, straw and bamboo, once materials of necessity by indigenous and pioneering peoples the world over, are now being rediscovered as materials of choice by those who are embracing an ethic of natural building."
- Bruce A. Silverberg, Natural Building Colloquium Southwest
How can we be Sustainable?
We can be more sustainable by keeping a few things in mind. The Natural Building Colloquium Southwest says it best, "We can:
~ Minimize "embodied energy" - the amount of fuel used to process, transport, install and ultimately recycle what goes into buildings and products - by utilizing raw, local materials wherever possible.
~ Use simple construction techniques, easily learned, that require little skill and few tools.
~ Avoid the use of toxic substances, that might create health or environmental hazards during manufacture, construction,
~ Minimize consumption of scarce, non-renewable resources by using alternative, renewable energy resources to
the greatest extent possible.
This is attained through the use of appropriate technologies on the one hand,
~ and by practicing a lifestyle of simplicity and conservation
that is in harmony with the building and its environment."
To the left is the slideshow of our straw bale building process and homestead! Use the link above to get an explanation of each part of the process, and to comment. Our house is a bit unusual, in that it is an octagon-shaped, load-bearing house with "pods", built in 1994. In 2013, this house, with its straw walls and adobe floor, continues to stand the test of time.
Building With Bales:
A Straw Bale Work Party!
October 19, 20 & 21, 2012
The work party went wonderfully, with so much fun, fellowship and progress! Friends of the Snyder family helped them all the way, and we were in on the planning, designing, straw bale building and some plastering phases. This is a straw bale in-fill house. To use straw bales as "in-fill" means to first build the foundation, framing and roof, then to use straw bales as insulation and walls.
Cob Oven Foundation
Our foundation is comprised of rocks and boulders formed into a dry-stack circular wall filled with smaller rock and gravel, all hand-gathered from our land and creek bed. All rocks were worked with so as to fit well together. I knew the size of oven I wanted, so all measurements were made accordingly.