I am amazed that more people are not jumping onto the Straw Bale Construction band wagon as I continue to watch the price of energy rise, month after month. I heard yesterday that the average cost of energy in the United States increased over 18% in 2007 alone. That is the cost of fuel, as we have all seen and felt, and electricity. Heating and cooling our homes makes up a huge part of the energy consumption in the United States, up to 40% by some counts.
Consider an office building with lights and computers running 24/7. That alone is a waste of electricity; however, now consider that the AC units have to work overtime to cool the room from all the heat those lights and computers generate. That’s madness! In San Francisco, most office buildings have to run AC to keep the temperatures cool enough for the workers. That is crazy considering that San Francisco has a very moderate climate and the outside air is usually cool enough to manage any worker’s body temperature.
Photo by Laurenz Bobke
Designing offices and homes with passive heating and cooling is one aspect of this dilemma. Another is to build energy efficient buildings. This is where straw bale construction can offer a huge advantage for home owners. Although possible for small companies, straw bale sky risers are not something of the near future. For home owners, however, they can offer huge savings on heating and cooling costs. Even in earthquake areas such as San Francisco, a straw bale house is efficient and structural brilliant! Why more people don’t join in, I don’t understand. I guess it is for the same reason that some people still buy Hummers and huge SUV’s. Once the pain hits their wallet hard enough, they will make a change to support our planet. until then, they will continue to live the inefficient and wasteful lifestyles they do today. I hope it’s not too late when they make the change.