Maybe the First Little Pig wasn’t so dumb after all
This fall I have had the privilege of working with some of Nashville’s most exciting visionaries in planning and hosting Nashville’s first annual Green Homes Tour. While I am happy to discuss with anyone the process of creating this event, what rocked my world was seeing some awesome alternative building materials at work in terms of livability and function. One of the homes on our tour had an addition that was constructed using straw bale and it was by far one of the coolest things I have seen in a long time.
The general concept behind straw bale construction is that when it is compressed together it has amazingly high durability and insulation values. In addition, it’s a rapidly renewing resource that does not need to be manufactured as opposed to any other form of insulation. It can be both load bearing or simply used within the framing and I would suspect here in the US you will find it mostly within framing.
Because it is compressed so tightly prior to sealing it, meaning there is very little oxygen or moisture, it’s actually very flame and wind resistant (think of trying to burn a phone book as opposed to individual sheets of paper). Here is a great FAQ page on straw bale construction and below are some pictures of the house I was in:
As you can see the walls are very thick and have a wonderful kind of undulation to them. These were covered with American Clay Natural Plaster that gave them some slight texture and they opted for a very light color.
As more and more alternative building materials find their way in to custom homes which will eventually find their way to the market, it’s probably wise to familiarize yourself with them in terms of pros and cons. I feel that it is one of the most important parts of a Realtor’s job is to empower your clients to make informed decisions and I intend to do a series on alternative building materials to help do just that.