when a home dreams green it dreams strawBale

Sustainable living for a Sustainable future, for when a home dreams green it dreams strawbale.
From the beginning it was our intention to build ecologically friendly, structurally sound, naturally efficient homes, using a minimum amount of embodied energy. These methods resulted in a home that is comfortable, artistic, and modern while minimizing the monthly and ever increasing utility bill. To that end I believe we succeeded.
After a decade and 8 homes, my goal now, is to promote the continuance of the strawbale paradigm. I wish to use this blog as a vehicle to perpetuate the ideals that we can reduce our 'footprint’. That we do have options that don’t include following the path of oil. That sometimes the best solutions are the simplest ones.
In the end, the big bad wolf, he huffed and he puffed and he huffed and he puffed and.........The 3 little pigies sat comfortably in their home of straw, completely unaware of the danger out there. The wolf contemplated, totally in awe. Perhaps it weren’t so bad to have a home made of straw.
©gregory vroom walter 11/29/11
I believe that the most comfortable home I have ever been in is a Strawbale home.
It is not my intention to teach everything there is to know about strawbale, for there are plenty of books already written that do this quite well, of which I will recommend. Rather my intention is to share the knowledge I have gained from designing and building eight homes that have all performed beyond expectation. I hope you find my posts and pages informative, enjoyable and helpful.

Thursday, February 9, 2023

To Naturally build or not? That is a very serious question.

 To build or not to build

I Was a Strawbale home design builder. I designed and built 8 homes, 3 of which i used REU’s or Rammed earth tires as a means to get above grade? 

Is it cheaper to build naturally than conventional construction…Yes, but only if you do it yourself and no if you don’t. What is your time worth and do you have it!

As to building your own Natural home:

1] Building your own home is one of the most empowering things you can do. It will also be one of the most difficult, especially if you do not have experience. Having said that, a home will teach you how to build it, you just have to get started.

2] Building your home and the “SWEAT equity” that comes with it will be one of the greatest investments you will ever make.

3] A natural built home is very LABOR intensive. 

4] Plan on giving yourself, at the very least, Two years to build. One for planning and design and a Minimum of one year to build and move in and possibly much longer to finish!

I recommend Straw Bale as it has passed all ASTM standards and with flying colors! Lots of building Departments are aware of them and may allow them as are insurance companies and banks.

Cons of Natural Building:

1] Very difficult to finance and insure. You must be persistent and don’t take no for an answer!

2] As such they are also harder to sell and as an investment will not be worth what a conventional new build home would be. So you must ask yourself…is this a place I plan on spending a large part of my life in

3] Because a home is possibly the single biggest investment in your life and life is unpredictable, will this be a good investment for me in the long run. Possibly? If it is very efficient it may become more valuable over time as our paradigm shifts.

4] VERY LABOR INTENSIVE. Are you up for that?

Pros: For a Straw Bale Home, as that is what I know!

1] Somewhat smaller Carbon Footprint.

2] Very Cozy, efficient, warm and snuggly in winter, cool in summer.

3] Artistic, Creative and Righteous!

4] Very Quite!

5] When done, you will love your home and it will love you back.

To Summarize; Building your own home can be one of the most rewarding things you can do in your life and also the most stressful. Be sure to not paint yourself into a financial corner by building a home that may be difficult to sell. Do your homework!

If you have the time and money to build for yourself and you want a very efficient home that will be comfortable in all seasons and you plan on being in that home for a long time then a Naturally Built home might be just for you, but remember, it might be just for you. 

If you are building a home as an investment and are hoping to cash in on your sweat equity then I would think twice about building a alternative “natural home”