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      Straw Bale Home Pictures                          Page 1 of 3
  straw bale house exterior with PV

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Straw Bale House Costruction

 

 

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This picture tour features the home in the Building With Awareness DVD and book. Form and function can work together. The metal pitched roof is angled for maximum solar gain for the generation of electricity. In addition, the metal provides a clean surface for the collection of rain water for the cistern. It is also one of the better roofing systems for keeping the straw bale walls dry from roof leaks.
       The largest windows are on the south side for maximum solar gain in the winter. A small porch extends the living area to the outdoors for the summer months. The supports for the porch roof are six inch by six inch recycled wood posts.
  picture hybrid home straw bale walls

 

 

 

 

 

Bulding Small While Still Feeling Spacious
Green building starts with a floor plan that is no larger than it needs to be. This saves money in the construction costs and greatly reduces energy costs. By building smaller, money can be put int detailing instead of square footage.
Both the interior and exterior walls are coated with earth plaster, which is literally mud. This material is actually very durable in areas that are realtively dry. This part of the country receives around 8 inches of rain per year. In wetter climates, lime plaster is an excellent alternative. Both materials allow any trapped moisture within the walls to excape.



  picture hybrid home and straw bale house

picture earth plaster on adobe wall

A detail of the stone shelf as seen to the left. The earth plaster is still wet and plyable. Note how sharp of a corner the earth plaster will hold. When dry, this mud will be extremely rigid and the natural color eliminates the need for paint.

Learn More: Earth Plaster for Walls

  South-Facing Windows
Even though the entire square footage of the home is less than 800 square feet, it was determined that an entry hall was very important. This small room serves multiple purposes. It acts as a transition from the outside to the higher-ceilinged living area, it offers a place to remove one's shoes (which can be stored on a shelf just to left of the door), and it helps to heat the home in the winter solar energy.
      Sunlight enters the South facing windows and hits the naturally colored mud-plastered adobe walls to the left. These walls are part of the thermal mass that stores heat generated from sunlight—which is solar energy. This is called passive solar heating because no mechanical devices are needed to collect the solar heat.
    The light colored wall surrounding the door is skim-coat unpainted gypsum plaster on top of an earth plaser. The waterproof gypsum plaster was used for durability since it connects to the kitchen wall which is hidden to the left.

 
  picture concrete floor acid stain

straw bale homes use acid-stained concrete floors

For detailed information on how these floors were created, see pages 42-49 of the Building With Awareness Guidebook and Chapter 3 of the Building With Awareness DVD video.

  Acid-Stained Concrete Floors Store Solar Energy
     Concrete, as mentioned elsewhere on this web site, is highly polluting to manufacture. Therefore, when using concrete, the design parameters required that it serve multiple functions. This economical and aesthetic floor treatment has many advantages. First, the floor collects solar energy from sunlight striking the surface of the floor in the winter. This passive solar heat supplements the natural gas-heated hydronic heating tubes that are imbedded in the 4 inch thick concrete. In addition, no additional floor covering is needed. Carpet never had to be manufactured, the floor will never wear out, it is easy to clean, and it looks great
      The floor was scored while the concrete was still wet. After curing for at least 30 days, special acids were used to stain the concrete to the patina pictured above. The score lines were then grouted and the floor was sealed with wax. The Building With Awareness DVD Video shows the complete construction process of this home and how solar energy is used for heating in the winter.
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