Natural Building With Straw & Clay


This weekend I spent a day helping stuff the walls of a straw/clay home.  Having been constructed with natural materials, a straw/clay home is a canary’s dream home: a true sanctuary.  

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This is a beautiful, GA Cook Co. (Maple City, MI), white-oak timber-frame home that is receiving a 12” layer of straw clay “outsulation”.  After the walls are stuffed it will be sided with wood and hand-plastered with clay, sand, lime and natural pigments.

From the builder, Thomas Hirsch of Bungalow Builders, building with straw and clay means:
– using materials that did not come in a disposable (or non-disposable, perhaps) packaging!

– using materials that were not sourced from a 3rd world country or even out of this country…or even out of this county!

-buying supplies locally and not from a big box store

– “waste” gets worked into the landscape

– a very small carbon footprint.

– the R-value of wall system gets a boost from “thermal mass effect”: walls hold heat & re-radiate back slowly over time.  Humidity is also moderated: no static electricity buildup when covered with natural clay/lime/sand/mineral pigmented plasters. Micropores available in surfaces treated in this way also have an air filtering quality. The list of subtle enhancements to a healthy living environment goes on.

-there are some things in life that some of us never grow out of…like playing in the mud!

-the 3 little pigs were on to something

-and hey, we even get a building permit to do this

-the FBI might consider this subversive, so that’s sexy, right?

– this is an equal opportunity event.  Veteran stuff-meisters & newbies welcome.

Links to more information on natural building:

http://www.bungalowbuilders.org/Site/Home.html

http://www.econesthomes.com/

http://www.designcoalition.org/projects/ecological.htm

Gernot Minke images

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