I would love to hear from people who may have experience working with government agencies to approve straw bale on government projects. In other words, building federal buildings out of bales. I know there are police stations, visitor centers, and more already built with bales. If you had any experience with these buildings, please help out Diane to achieve her goal. Thanks. More information about the goal is below along with my response to Diane.
Hello Andrew Morrison,
I did get the document, thank you. However, I have some questions not covered in your document and I have looked around the web and have not found the answers. I work for the US Forest Service and we are going to build a new office building in the next two years so I am hoping to get the District to consider Straw Bale construction.
1. Are there any floor plans around that address the larger buildings
such as an office for 20 people? I cannot visualize one but I imagine it
would have a main body with wings for support of the roof.
2. Are there any additional “sustainable green elements” that can be
built into the design such as wind power towers or attached solar
I wish my husband Richard and I could have had your 10 suggestions when we built our Nebraska style straw bale cabin. We tied every bale together with rebar, we stacked the straw on the raised floor, (no floods and no problems but it is something to think about, like don,t let the appliances get too old before replacing!). The other thing we would not do again is make a 1 bale window. The window over the sink looks like an arrow slot because we did not think about how much room the bucks and window frame would take up. I love our little cabin. We use it for a guest house, art studio, aerobics studio, the women’s Bible study of our Church meets there it is just a terrific building. We had a wood stove in it but even though it was a very small stove it drove us out. We replaced it with the smallest of propane heaters and all I have to do to have it toasty for a meeting is to turn the thermostat up from 50 to 70 an hour before I plan to use it.
I am just shocked that straw bale construction has not exploded as a building method. Our cabin is 6 years old and we have shown it to many people yet no one has built one. Both of our sons helped build it and neither of them has a straw bale house. (we all live in the country and have no building codes to worry about). I am hoping the new Forest Service Office building will be straw bale but I have a lot of convincing to do.
Have a great day. Diane
How exciting! I sure hope you are successful with your desire to create the building out of straw. There have been a few commercial (wineries, stores, bakeries,etc…) built with bales and also a few government buildings (police station, highway sound walls, visitor centers, etc…) around the States. The idea of a super efficient building made of natural materials should be easy to grasp for the powers that be in your situation; however, some convincing may still be needed. Please direct the folks to the photo gallery on my site. That may help.
I do not know of any specific floor plans for a building that size, but straw bale structures can certainly be used for that scale. You could use any plans and simply modify the wall thickness to accommodate the bales. It is actually a bit more than that, but not might much. Solar, wind, and other green aspects (building materials and finish materials like flooring) can most definitely be used and should be in my opinion. For an office space, you might consider concrete floors with radiant heat for the heavy traffic areas and cork over the concrete for the areas where people stand a lot to soften the impact on their feet and back. Anyway, the options are endless.
Good luck and let me know if you want help presenting your idea.