To Bale or Not To Bale?

Written by Andrew Morrison

rain forestWell I landed in Denver, Colorado today right behind a big snow storm. I am lucky to have made it in, or so it seems. Some areas of Colorado got over two feet of snow today! Funny, when I left Oregon it was 65 degrees. Oh well. While I was traveling I thought about when and where to use straw bale construction. Surely this thought was egged on by the thought of landing in the Colorado snow. What I jotted down on the computer as we flew was that most areas of the World are perfect for SB construction, but some are not. As a professional builder I need to be able to inform people of when to bale or not to bale.

This decision can be based on climate, structural requirements or design criteria. Just yesterday I spoke with some folks who had a desire to build a really cool building with bales. Unfortunately, the design was such that it was not practical to build with straw bales. I could have done it with bales, but it would have cost them more and they would not have benefited from the use. So, we are now looking at building it Green without bales. I think it will be an awesome building.

So, the point is that we as builders and owner/builders need to be willing to be honest with ourselves and our clients about using bales. Even if you have your heart set on bales, if the climate won’t allow it, then let it go. If the design you are excited about won’t allow the use of bales then either let it go or change the design. Whatever you do, be honest.

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