You’re Invited to the 2020 Rocky Mountain Natural Building Conference

2020 Natural Building ConferenceMy friend Timbo Scursso and I have been talking about the upcoming Natural Building Conference in Moab, Utah and I want to be sure you know about it. In fact, there’s a discount for early registration, so read on to learn more…


The Natural Building Alliance presents the 2020 Rocky Mountain Natural Building Conference. This will be our first conference outside of Colorado. Come join us in Beautiful Moab, Utah, the home of Community Rebuilds and endless recreation opportunities. The event will be held at the Moab Arts and Recreation Center Thursday, March 26th through Saturday 28th.

The theme of the Natural Building Conference is “All Hands In”. This theme recognizes and celebrates the fact that everything that all of us are doing is important and awesome, and that we can work together to make it even more awesome.

Our Keynote Speaker for the event with be Chris Magwood of the Endeavour Centre, from Peterborough, Ontario, Canada. He will be exploring if Natural Builders are Climate Heroes.

The natural building conference program will include podium presentations, breakout sessions, and roundtables, and will also feature a generous variety of outdoor, hands-on workshops, and jovial after-hours gatherings. And don’t forget… it’s Moab! We encourage everyone to arrive early or stay late and enjoy this amazing corner of Planet Earth.

Online registration for the conference is available at special Early Bird rates until January 15th. Space at the venue is limited, so sign up before it fills up! You can pay via your PayPal account, a credit card via “Stripe”, through the Natural Building Alliance website, or by mailing a good ol’ fashioned check. Tickets are also available through Eventbrite on our Natural Building Alliance Facebook page. If you’re an existing NBA member, please email us for a discount coupon code.

We can wait to see you there!

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4 Responses to You’re Invited to the 2020 Rocky Mountain Natural Building Conference

  1. Avatar
    Steve Crosby Sun, February 2, 2020 at 9:56 am #

    I am interested in the Seminar. Unfortunately I just saw all this and to be real honest although aware of straw houses for a long time I just found a renewed interest. I have a rather unique situation and opportunity currently. Very bluntly we see things different than many and are in a different situation than many. We recently sold a house in southern Idaho, in the high desert. Space is not limiting, moisture fairly minimal, large rectangular bales of straw more available than small conventional bales. We struggle with the idea of moving back to a conventional home. Oh, I did not mention we are mid 60s and my wife just finishing chemo having survived breast cancer. We are rural country people and far from wanting or needing show place housing or all the modern conveniences and niceties. Plus in all honesty we aren’t planning on living forever and don’t worry about resale possibilities. To go on further we plan be off grid and unimpeded by zoning or building regulations. Different ehh?

    So – all this is to explain what we are interested in is using large rectangular bales to build a minimalist home in the high desert. At MOST we require 24 foot by 60 foot interior. We have a sloped property with southern exposure where my idea is combine pressure treated wood and straw bales along with 6-8 mil vinyl plastic and have approximate 1/2 the 24 foot depth also below grade. I understand it is counter intuitive but I would like a mono slope shed roof sloping parallel to the sloped ground to facilitate solar panels and divert the maximum amount of any moisture beyond the house downhill. I need consider overhangs of the roof on all sides and ends and likely would maximize all. Anyway, I want incorporate straw house concepts as much as possible and use these larger bales. I apologize for all the rambling here but wanted try get you enough information so if there is a glaring weakness you could point it out. Initially I think I will just excavate the pad, build back a high dry well drained pad of rock and gravel base. Make the perimeter base of the raised beds with rods to secure the bottom row of bales and stack my large bales to the final desired size. Since we work with the baker operators I can have bale length adjusted to accommodate doors and windows somewhat.

  2. Andrew Morrison
    Andrew Morrison Mon, July 6, 2020 at 11:35 am #

    Hi Steve. Thanks for your message. Believe it or not, your situation is actually not that different from many of the folks I work with. We, as a group interested in straw bale construction, are different from others, but inside that group, we have some strong similarities for sure. 🙂

    I would not recommend putting bales below grade. You can maintain the shape you are after by using concrete or block work underground and then transitioning to bales above grade. That will give you the best quality and longevity for the home. Bales below grade are more likely to fail from moisture damage, even with the plastic in place.

  3. Avatar
    Tracie Kingsford Tue, February 9, 2021 at 6:01 pm #

    Andrew, you have told me in the past that use use hydrophilic lime to skin your building with. Do you ever mix any clay soil in it. I have seen many videos on the internet that mix the two. It looks like it is getting to be a popular thing to start mix clay with the lime. Does it cause any problems? The clay soil is very thick and heavy where I live and I wanted to use it, but if it is not a good idea, I would like to know. Our soil here also contains a lot of smecktite. The local geology professor says it is terrible to build with. He claims that is why we have so much cracked concrete around here. He states that the concrete workers do not prepare a proper bed under the concrete and then the smecktite starts to expand and contract with the seasons and it makes the concrete crack. would I have the same problem with cob? Would still have the same problem if I cut it with hydraulic lime.

  4. Andrew Morrison
    Andrew Morrison Fri, March 26, 2021 at 1:09 pm #

    Hi Tracie. I prefer to use Natural HYDRAULIC Lime for all three coats of plaster on my structures. I do not mix clay in with the lime as the materials do not work well together in my experience. In my mind, the main reason that people cut their lime with clay is to save money; however, I find that I am called in as a consultant a lot on properties that were plastered this way because they are failing. There is nothing inexpensive about fixing plaster failures, so in my mind, it’s simply not worth it to cut that corner. Cheers.

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