EcoNest Makes a Sustainable Southwest Clay + Straw Bale Home | Home Design Find

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EcoNest Makes a Sustainable Southwest Clay + Straw Bale Home

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The warmth of the sun on unfinished wood, rough stone and simple clay plaster makes this house feel good to be around.

Architect Paula Baker-Laporte and master builder Robert Laporte use clay and straw walls that absorb and release moisture naturally and safely; with natural insulation and thermal mass, so you don’t need the siding, air barriers,  ducting or air handlers.

These walls have natural transpiration.

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Hefty timber framing bears the house’s structural loads and provides an envelope for an infill of mixed clay and straw, which is stabilized by horizontal bamboo rods.

The one foot thick clay/straw wall, utilizing waste clay dust reclaimed from a local brick factory, has the insulation and storage capacity to keep interior temperatures and humidity well-regulated.

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Plastering is done directly onto the straw packed into the walls between load-bearing frames doesn’t need added netting to provide grip for finishes, by apprentices who will carry this technique out into the community.

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Unlike a regular straw-bale house, the clay/straw combines the insulating properties of straw with the thermal properties of earth, making it more resistant to fire or decay.

When a home built this way is completed; no waste – like gypsum sheet rock – is headed to the landfill. It takes a lot of energy to manufacture sheet rock, because gypsum mining is so energy intensive. “One of the pillars of sustainability is reduced manufacturing,” says Robert.

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This construction is ideal for the warm days and cool nights of the southwestern United States, and it is easy to create. Using the principles of Bau-Biologie, EcoNest envisions a building as a third skin – after your own, and your clothing. So EcoNest avoids chemical hazards, electromagnetic fields, and the effects of geopathic stresses.

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That is why Robert and Paula build in a way to sustain the prosperity and health of the owner, the builder, and the community in which that builder and the homeowner live. That is why their work is so labor intensive. They want to resurrect a traditional way of working together to build our communities.

Source: GreenBuildingAdvisor

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