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Case Study: A Modern Straw Bale Mining Cabin

Posted by Green Builder Staff

Nov 30, 2015 3:20:36 PM

This home was inspired by nearby old mining structures Colorado’s gold country. But make no mistake: this is a thoroughly modern home.

GREG MADDEN DESIGNED this 1,660-square-foot straw bale cabin for a young couple who hired him before they had even bought a building site. Located at 9,000 feet near a major ski resort, the building was inspired by nearby old mining structures in Colorado’s gold country. But make no mistake: this is a thoroughly modern home. The cabin’s bones consist of a post-and-beam structure infilled with regionally sourced straw bales. The pier foundation is pinned directly to exposed granite bedrock, reducing the amount of concrete needed.

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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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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. Read More

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. Read More

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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