Building with bales of straw has become almost mainstream in some parts of the country, especially in the Southwestern United States. Many localities have specific codes for strawbale construction, and some banks are willing to lend on this technique. Straw is a renewable resource that acts as excellent insulation and is fairly easy to build with. Care must be taken to assure that the straw is kept dry, or it will eventually rot. For this reason it is generally best to allow a strawbale wall to remain breathable; any moisture barrier will invite condensation to collect and undermine the structure. Other possible concerns with strawbale walls are infestation of rodents or insects, so the skin on the straw should resist these critters.

There are two major categories of building with strawbales: load-bearing and non-load bearing. A post and beam framework that supports the basic structure of the building, with the bales of straw used as infill, is the most common non-load bearing approach. This is also the only way that many building authorities will allow. While there are many load- bearing strawbale buildings that are standing just fine, care must be taken to consider the possible settling of the strawbales as the weight of the roof, etc. compresses them.

Erecting bale walls can go amazingly quickly, and does not take a lot of skill, but then the rest of the creation of the building is similar to any other wood framed house. In fact strawbale houses typically only save about 15% of the wood used in a conventionally framed house. The cost of finishing a strawbale house can often exceed that of standard construction, because of the specialized work that goes into plastering both sides of the walls. The result is often worth it though, because of the superior insulation and wall depth that is achieved.

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How-To Straw Bale Building Video Series Plus Architectural Plans

10 hours of in-depth instruction, containing the latest information on building from the ground up. You will learn how to be successful in the building process, from the concrete foundation, to the framing, to the baling (both Post & Beam and Load Bearing), and finally to the plastering. By implementing these simple, how-to techniques, you’ll be able to effectively build your own straw bale structure with little or no previous building experience. Taught by Andrew Morrison. Available as Instant Downloads.

There are two architectural plans available as well. Each structure has many of the details needed in larger homes, so if you plan to build a full-scale home, this is the perfect “test run” to get you started off right. You will learn so much building this structure, and when you are done, you’ll have a beautiful space to enjoy.  It’s like a class that gives back!

The books shown below are arranged according to when they were published, with the most recent ones at the top. If you click on one of the images you will be taken to a page at Amazon.com where you can find out more about the book. If you end up buying one of them, greenhomebuilding.com will receive a small commission that will help cover the cost of maintaining this website. Thanks for your patronage.

Eco Nest 1200
Touson Saryon, Designer

This 1434 sf home was designed specifically for an off grid building site. It's floorplan allows all spaces to be easily heated by the solar gain or by the woodstove at night. The main bedroom has its own bathroom and there is a cozy sleeping loft above the dining area for guests. The screened porch expands the living area to encompass the outdoors and the storage room will hold the bikes and garden tools. A 'living roof' completes the greening of this unique eco-nest!  Great plan for a remote vacation getaway or full-time rural home.

For more information about this plan, and many others, visit our sister site www.dreamgreenhomes.com, where you will find a wide range of plans for sustainable homes, greenhouses, small buildings, garages, and food storage space for sale. Dream Green Homes is a consortium of outstanding architects and designers, who have pooled their talent and expertise for your benefit.

Actual Homes

sbregistry.greenbuilder.com is a registry of strawbale homes across the U.S., orgainzed by state, with an indication of whether the owners are open to visitors or not.

lamaisonenpaille.com extensive site devoted to straw bale projects in Europe and India.

strawbale-building mostly links to other SB sites, but does have a database of SB houses in the UK.

quietwater.net some good, detailed information about a particular non-load-bearing strawbale project.

EcoNest.com features light straw/clay construction.

This Crestone Bed and Breakfast is a very nicely done two-story strawbale.


Surfin' Strawbale Links List

strawbale-building mostly links to other SB sites, but does have a database of SB houses in the UK.


earthnstraw.com features news, workshop listings, and a forum on strawbale building.


dcat.net lists Strawbale Codes specifically for Texas, California, Colorado, and Arizona.

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I specifically disclaim any warranty, either expressed or implied, concerning the information on these pages. Neither I nor any of the advisor/consultants associated with this site will have liability for loss, damage, or injury, resulting from the use of any information found on this, or any other page at this site. Kelly Hart, Hartworks LLC.