While riding my recumbent bicycle home from the office the other day, I was caught by the reflections in my neighbor’s flooded field. They recently planted a citrus orchard and garden and were irrigating late in the day. I grabbed my camera to capture the soft glow of a typical New Mexico sunset.
When living in a straw bale home, Spring is the time to remove the insulation panels from the skylights (to prevent heat loss in winter) and to turn off the pilot light of the backup radiant-floor heating system (despite some nights that still dip into the 30’s, the home does not need backup heat at this time of year). The rainwater cistern is 80% full due to recent spring rains. This will supply enough non-potable water until the summer monsoon season begins in a few months. The photovoltaic electrical system generates more electricity in the Spring and Fall due to the fixed angle of the PV panels to the sun. It is also time to put the window screens back up as they are removed every Fall to maximize the amount of heat entering the windows from the low-angled winter sun.
The warm earthen tones of the home’s walls come from the mud plaster finish. The small workshop to the right is made of adobe bricks. These materials are very green as they come from the earth itself—with minimal processing.
If you would like to see how this green home was built, pick up a copy of the “Building With Awareness” DVD video and book combo. It is available at a bookstore near you and online. “Building With Awareness” is beautifully photographed and covers the complete design and construction process of building green with straw bale, adobe, and other natural materials. The purchase of our DVD video and book helps to support this blog and website on green building.