In 1994, when Chelsea Green published The Straw Bale House, the response from many people was a loud, "Huh?!"
Those days are gone. With more than 100,000 copies sold, and straw bale projects underway in most regions of North America, we've entered a new era. Even building-code officials and insurance companies now look favorably upon straw bale buildings, with their extraordinary energy efficiency and wise use of agricultural waste for construction materials.
Bergeron and Lacinski's new book Serious Straw Bale is the first to look carefully at the specific design considerations critical to success with a straw bale building in more extreme climates-where seasonal changes in temperature, precipitation, and humidity create special stresses that builders must understand and address. The authors draw upon years of experience with natural materials and experimental techniques, and present a compelling rationale for building with straw-one of nature's most resilient, available, and affordable byproducts.
For skeptics and true believers, this book will prove to be the latest word.
- Thorough explanations of how moisture and temperature affect buildings in seasonal climates, with descriptions of the unique capacities of straw and other natural materials to provide warmth, quiet, and comfort year-round.
- Comprehensive comparison of the two main approaches to straw bale construction: "Nebraska-style," where bales bear the weight of the roof, and framed structures, where bales provide insulation.
- Detailed advice-including many well-considered cautions-for contractors, owner-builders, and designers, following each stage of a bale-building process.
This is a second-generation straw bale book, for those seeking serious information to meet serious challenges while adventuring in the most fun form of construction to come along in several centuries.
About the Author
Paul Lacinski is a partner in Green Space Collaborative, an environmental consulting firm offering integrated project management and innovative design services. He lives in Ashfield, Massachusetts.
Architect Michel Bergeron is a founding member of Quebec's legendary ecological design-build firm, Archibio. He is an author, designer, and builder. He lives in Montreal.