One key to an energy efficiency and healthy home is a home with a tight envelope. Meadowlark Builders are experts in Advanced Building Techniques and materials used to create the tightest home envelopes possible. To achieve this we use computer modeling and build with Insulated Concrete Forms (ICFs), Durisol ICFs, Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs), Advanced Framing Techniques (AFTs). As masters of Advanced Building Techniques and materials, Meadowlark Builders has built some of the most energy-efficient homes in the country.
STRAW BALE HOMES
They may sound like a step back to medieval times, but straw bale houses are actually a big step forward into a more sustainable future. Properly constructed, they can be highly insulated, structurally solid, and naturally fire and pest resistant homes. When natural coatings, such and lime and American clay are used, the house is made almost solely of natural products.
A frequent worry with straw bale homes is that pests, such as rodents and bugs, will move into the straw. Proper cladding will keep such pests at bay, and in fact, the densely packed plant material will foil any bugs that manage to penetrate the cladding. A conventionally framed home is actually more attractive to pests, such as termites, than a straw bale house.
Straw bale houses are also significantly more fire resistant than conventional homes. Straw bales contain very little oxygen, and they are packed tightly enough to keep flames from spreading. A straw bale wall typically burns about four times more slowly than a framed wall.
Moisture is the enemy of all houses, but straw bale houses are unforgiving if the wrong materials are used as cladding or finishes. While air doesn’t need to move through them freely, moisture does need a path to migrate out of the walls without impediment from the finish materials.
A straw bale house can last for centuries and is an extremely sustainable building material. The straw is sequestered present carbon with very little embodied energy. It is usually a local product that requires little manufacturing. It uses less fossil fuel during construction and for ongoing heating and cooling. While not for the faint of heart, straw bale houses can be viable, attractive dwellings that should be more frequently considered.
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