I have a farm in Trinidad, Colorado (although I live in Denver) and on it is an old house that I want to tear down. I would like to build a house that is so energy efficient that I can leave it with no heat in the winter and have no problems with freezing, etc. In other words, I want to create a cave-like environment where the temperature stays roughly the same as outdoors in any weather. Can a straw bale house survive without a heat source? I have double pane, low e-glass windows in my farm house now and would transfer them to the new house. Please let me know if this is possible with the straw bale construction.
The biggest aspect of this working is the design of the house. You will need to incorporate enough passive solar design to create a natural heat source for the home. Without any heat, the house will eventually equal the temperature outside, even if that is 0 degrees. If the house has passive solar design, it can generate its own heat by using the sun to warm interior floors and other heat sinks. That heat is then slowly released into the home and the bales insulate to such a high efficiency that they can contain that heat through the night. So, can a straw bale house survive without a heat source? With some detailed planning and execution it may be possible. Good luck!