Straw Bale Fundamentals Course

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Saturday, August 19, 2023
10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Downtown Edmonton Community League (10042 103 Street)
Edmonton, Alberta

Are you looking to learn more about straw bale building construction technology? We are pleased to offer a fall fundamentals straw bale course this fall for novices and aspiring builders alike! With our partners, Battle Lake Design Group (BLDG) has been a leader in straw bale building technology for almost 20 years for homes and buildings all over Western Canada. Learn from the pros at this limited offering one-day course in Edmonton.

Course Outline

The workshop will consist of presentations on the fundamentals and potential of cement-lime stucco plastered straw bale construction and modified post and beam framing and designing for straw bales.

The course will address the following:

  • Why straw bale? Energy efficiency, do-it-yourself (DIY) components and community building aspects
  • Dispelling straw bale myths including issues of fire, rodents and insects
  • Detailed discussion on cost including labour and materials.
  • History of the technology to its present day status and a green building technology.
  • Energy efficiency, how bale walls function as insulation and infill on exterior wall component including CMHC research.
  • Present day incorporation with standard engineered building systems and standard framing component including foundation and framing options.
  • Foundation systems unique to straw bale such as rubble trench.
  • Overview of the two main systems of straw bale building construction: non-load bearing and load bearing.
  • Demonstration of our of our modified post-and-beam framing system using a full scale mockup, and discussion of structural systems used in non-load bearing designs including box column design, perimeter beams, 2-storey construction, window and door openings, base toe-ups, bale placement and fire caps.
  • Design of cement-lime stucco systems including stucco wire and mesh, flashing, expansion joints, sewing, ledgers, stucco stops, mixes and application.
  • Weather protection through good design practices.
  • Engineering, insurance and permitting requirements
  • Discussion on acting as your own general contractor for owner-builders.

The course will include approximately 5 hours of classroom instruction, both in the form of lectures and video presentations with ample time for questions and answers, and participation by registrants. Each person will receive a handout or PDFs at the end of the course covering all the material presented.

Instruction will be provided by our own Arnold Renschler, Managing Director of BLDG. Arnold has over 30 years of design and construction experience. Prior to forming Battle Lake Design Group with Chris Buyze in 2003, Arnold built custom houses in Central Alberta. He has completed historic
restoration projects for Alberta Historic Resources. Arnold has extensive knowledge in construction, construction management, bidding and negotiating with contractors, and residential and commercial design.

Example of a straw bale wall system designed by Battle Lake Design Group


The cost of the 1 day Straw Bale Fundamentals Course is $120.00, plus 5% GST. Payment is required to secure your spot. Minimum registration number of 12 is required for the course to proceed with a maximum of 20 registrants.

Coffee, water and snacks will be provided. Lunch is also provided – please let us know of any dietary restrictions, we will do our best to accommodate or please bring your own food.

Saturday day parking is available in the Zebra Parkade for $10/day, or Impark Lot #380 for $5/day. It is also located next to Bay Enterprise Square LRT Station and on the Downtown Bike Grid.

Space is limited, so register today! Please fill out this form to register.

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