Please Help Support Martin Hammer and the National Straw Bale Code Efforts

Martin Hammer

If you have not heard about the work Martin Hammer has done in developing the national straw bale construction building code, then you have missed out. Martin has worked tirelessly, and continues to do so, for all of us. He co-authored the code which was approved in the 2015 International Residential Code (IRC) and has […]

Easier Insurance and Lending for Straw Bale Homes

insurance for straw bale houses

The inclusion of straw bale construction in the 2015 International Residential Code (IRC) has made it easier to get insurance and lending for straw bale homes. It may not be as easy as getting insurance and lending on conventional homes yet, but we are making major headway.

Scheduling Subcontractors and Inspections on a Straw Bale House

straw bale house Dining Room

It’s pretty obvious that they are differences between a straw bale house and conventional homes. What is not so apparent are the differences encountered during the construction process. For example, the order of operations and thus inspections is different for a straw bale house.

Land Development Process Revealed

dream house image

Allow me to share with you what I have learned over my 20 years as a professional builder and land developer. All tweaks and adjustments aside, this will be a good footing to start out on for anyone interested in the start to finish process of finding, developing, and building on raw land.

We Have a National Straw Bale Building Code!

ICC Approval Hearing

This is perhaps the most exciting day in straw bale construction history. The proposed appendix on straw bale construction was approved at the International Code Council (ICC) Final Action Hearings in Atlantic City on October 4, 2013! As a result, we now have a national straw bale building code!

Tiny House Homesteading (Part 1)

Tiny House Cabin

I spent last week on the piece of land that my wife and I purchased this past February.  This is the first raw piece of land that we have ever owned together with the intention of creating our forever homestead. My intention was to meet with county officials, engineers, the power company, and two of […]

Please Support the Proposed Straw Bale Building Code

straw bale building code IRC

The creation and acceptance of a straw bale building code in the INternational Residential Code and the International Building Code would be a huge step forward for straw bale construction. Please suppor the efforts to get the proposed code accepted.

Help With Understanding the Code for Sustainable Homes

Energy Efficiency

The code for sustainable homes is an environmental assessment method for rating and certifying the performance of new homes in the UK. It is a national standard for use in the design and construction of new homes with a view to encouraging continuous improvement in sustainable construction. It was launched in 2006 and became operational […]

Inspire Others by Registering Your Straw Bale Home

round window in a straw bale house

Just a quick reminder to those of you who have finished building about the importance of registering your straw bale home on the International Straw Bale Registry Project through This is a great resource for other people who are looking to build their own straw bale home. I often contact people who have listed […]

Straw Bale Construction in Earthquakes

straw bale earthquake test

I want to start by sending Gabriella’s and my love, prayers, thoughts, and hope to all those effected by the recent earthquakes in Japan and New Zealand.  Clearly the tsunami in Japan was behind the majority of the death and damage, but the impact that earthquakes are having around the world on human populations cannot […]

Update on Green Building Codes and Standards

National Green Building Standard

I received a great update this morning on the existence and development of green building codes and standards in the United States from a product developer (I’ll call him Bob) with the International Code Council (ICC) that I’d like to share with you. Here’s what he shared with me (I’ll give some comments a long […]

New Green Construction Code Released by the ICC

international code council

The International Code Council (ICC) has recently released the International Green Construction Code (IGCC). This code is intended for commercial buildings and will be integrated into the existing International Codes. This is not the same thing as LEED design, and is a new code in place to govern the green details of commercial construction. The […]

Tax Valuation Appraisals With Straw Bale Houses –

tax valuation appraisals

I just received an email from a man who received his tax valuation appraisals after final completion. The property tax assessment turned out to be really high and he asked if there was any history of successful contesting of such assessments in my history. I didn’t have anything to offer him other than support and […]

Straw Bale Home Appraisal Tips

stack of money

Getting a straw bale home appraisal is one of the harder aspects of construction. Why? Because there are not very many, if any, comparable sales of straw bale homes out there. So how do you jump this hurdle? There are a couple ways to do it. The first and most promising way is to make […]

Naming Names: Straw Bale Construction Loans

stack of money on top of plans

This being 2008, obviously the real estate market has taken a huge loss around the world and things continue to look bleak. How this affects people wanting to build a straw bale home depends a lot on their local conditions. The first and most obvious place of impact is in the mortgage industry. The industry […]

Congressional Hearing on Straw Bale Construction –


Below is the link to the recent briefings on the Congressional hearing on straw bale construction. This is a potentially exciting move for the world of straw bale construction. I know how slowly the US Congress can move, so my breath is bated although not held! The presenters: David Eisenberg, Sandy Wiggins, Laura Bartels, and […]

New Research About Mesh and Bale Orientation on Straw Bale Walls

straw bale welded wire mesh

I was recently told about some new research results that have posted on line. The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) has just published a report authored by Colin MacDougall called “Effect of Mesh and Bale Orientation on the Strength of Straw Bale Walls“. The report is co-authored by Chris Magwood and Steve Vardy. The […]

If at First You Don’t Succeed…Try, Try Again –

You can do it

If at first you don’t succeed, don’t worry! You’re not the only one. I have a poster on my wall that I want to share with you all. It helps me remember that when my first efforts fall short, I don’t give up. It gives examples of influential men who started out as less than […]

Vapor Barries in Straw Bale Houses –

house wrap

House wrap often creates more damage than it prevents in straw bale houses. Why then are they required in straw bale building codes? The answer is not complicated; however, the impact of vapor barriers in straw bale houses is. For straw bale homes, the push has always been to provide the bale walls with a vapor permeable […]

Convincing Governments to Use Straw Bale Construction


I would love to hear from people who may have experience working with convincing governments to use straw bale construction. In other words, building federal buildings out of bales. I know there are police stations, visitor centers, and more already built with bales. If you had any experience with these buildings, please help out Diane […]

Working with City Officials When Building a Straw Bale House

Business People Handshake Greeting Deal Concept

I receive several emails a month from people who need help with the process of finding land, working with municipalities, and building their straw bale home. For many individuals, this is the first time they have ever ventured out into the world of green construction, and the implications of building green can affect the approach […]

Building Codes: Getting Approval for Straw Bale Homes

international code council

I receive a ton of questions about building codes and whether or not a certain state covers straw bale construction in their building code. Here’s what I recommend you do to find out whether or not your state has a building code for alternative construction and what to do if they do not. 1. Buy […]