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Enduring Appeal

Posted by Sarah Lozanova

Nov 7, 2014 2:08:46 PM

PIONEERS IN THE Nebraska Sandhills lacked trees and even good sod for home construction, so they used the material they had widely available: straw bales. A revival of this building method is underway, with homebuilders seeking the desirable qualities of these highly insulated, attractive and renewable homes.

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Topics: straw bale, energy efficiency

Healthy Homes, Naturally

Posted by Sarah Lozanova

Oct 27, 2014 10:54:09 AM

THE ECONEST COMPANY has innovated a unique light frame matrix that wraps timber-framed structures with one-foot-thick clay/straw walls. The company’s handcrafted heirloom homes begin with a holistic design by Paula Baker-Laporte, FAIA. Her designs make efficient use of space, maximize passive solar gains and fit the unique personality of the homeowner. She and President and Co-founder Robert Laporte take pride in creating customized homes that fit the homeowners “like a glove” and have very high air quality.
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Topics: straw bale, Building Science, Resilient Housing, clay

Natural Resilience

Posted by Juliet Grable

Apr 29, 2014 1:53:00 PM

MASTER CRAFTSMAN ROBERT LAPORTE and architect Paula Baker-Laporte moved the headquarters of the EcoNest Company, their design/build firm, to Ashland, Oregon in 2010. Last year they completed a new nest of their own. Featuring a timber frame, clay/straw walls and extensive use of natural and local materials, the two-bedroom home measures 1,510 square feet, and includes the EcoNest business offices.

Laporte adapted his wall system from traditional timber framing and wattle and daub.“It’s a versatile material,” he says. “The clay/straw mixture combines the insulating properties of straw-bale and the heat-storing properties of cob in one wall system.” Builders can adjust the proportions according to the solar opportunity; for instance, the south-facing wall contains more clay, increasing its capacity as a thermal mass. Larsen trusses minimize thermal bridging in the 12”-thick walls.
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Topics: 1500 square feet or less, standing seam metal roof, straw bale, Alternative Building Materials

Subtle Masterpiece

Posted by Cati O'Keefe

Dec 1, 2013 5:18:00 PM

2013 Green Home of the Year Awards 
Grand Overall Winner - Santa Ynez, Calif.

This home's smart, low-tech approach to efficiency took home the gold.

SIMPLICITY WON OVER the judges to make Dreamtime Farm, Santa Ynez, Calif., this year’s Grand Overall  Green Home of the Year Award Winner. Architect and judge Hank Krzysik called the home “simple, clean, energy-efficient.” Builder and judge Michael Ginsburg said the home was “simple, straightforward and understandable.” Judge and energy expert Robert Bulechek lauded its features: “net-zero, graywater with solar hydronic.”

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Topics: net-zero energy, California, bathroom, 1600 to 2500 square feet, Green Landscaping, kitchen, passive solar, solar hot water, straw bale, outdoor living, Chain of Custody Certification, EPA Burn Wise, natural ventilation, natural daylighting, AquaPEX, FSC Certified Lumber, LED Lighting, 2013 Green Home of the Year Awards, Recycled Products

Natural Synergy

Posted by Cati O'Keefe

Dec 1, 2013 12:53:00 PM

Green Home of the Year Awards 2013
Best Exterior Integration - Sonoma, Calif.

This LEED platinum house boasts roof gardens and thoughtful landscaping.

FARM HOUSE VERNACULAR and chicken coops were the design inspiration for the 3,960-square-foot, two-story home. Covered walkways, gardens and a pool link the simple gabled structures into a family compound.

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Topics: Geothermal Heating and Cooling, graywater, California, Green Landscaping, LEED, 1500 square feet or less, solar hot water, straw bale, Low Flow Faucets, natural daylighting, green roof, 2013 Green Home of the Year Awards, rainwater harvesting


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