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A new home has been built at the traditional family homestead of one retired couple near Vegreville, Alberta. Completed in the Spring 2016, this modest 1400 square foot, two bedroom ranch-style bungelow features our modified and easy-to-build straw bale construction and a wrap around veranda to protect the house but also embrace the prairie views beyond. Many beautiful, handcrafted finishing touches were lovingly completed by the client and their builder including the use of local grain elevator wood for the deep...

In previous postings we have discussed some of the design rationale and construction methodologies employed and advocated by our company. This is a more detailed analysis of technologies and materials used from foundation to roof. Not too long ago the construction of a straw bale house involved the design of a custom foundation, sometimes complex and unorthodox framing, shimming trusses and rafters on an undulating box beam on a load bearing straw bale wall, and a host of other quirky construction...

Straw bales as a choice in new housing is distinctly different from virtually all new products developed to enhance the efficiency of home construction from a structural, energy, environmental or cost efficiency perspective. New building products are often developed by large companies through research and development, then marketed, branded and patented. Straw bale, and its applications in house construction, is a grass roots technology, developed by small builders, home owners and 'do-it-yourself-ers' exploring a means of providing housing that is...

A commentary in the recent edition of Fine Homebuilding Magazine's 'Energy-Smart Homes' (Winter 2013) points out the need for more homes designed and built with energy-efficiency and other sustainable principles that are within the reach of the average home owner. Residential designer and project manager Michael Maines explains the premise of the 'Pretty Good House', β€œIt's about finding the sweet spot between initial cost and long-term savings, paying attention to critical details while maintaining ease of construction, providing energy-efficiency without ignoring...