[GSBN] new system of building the straw bale structure
jc10508 at windstream.net
Sun Jun 7 19:53:53 CDT 2009
Wonder what you think about this fellow's "new system of building" a straw
I haven't seen it or talked with him - just read the newspaper article.
The Last Straw, the international journal
of strawbale and natural building
PO Box 22706, Lincoln NE 68542-2706
402.483.5135, fax 402.483.5161
<thelaststraw at thelaststraw.org>
The article appeared in South Dakota newspapers.
Straw bale buildings support green living for James Hay
By Karen Yekel
HOT SPRINGS Nearly two years after the devastation known locally as
³Alabaugh,² James Hay is getting his home back together. Well, almost. The
straw bale structure he has worked on all winter is just about ready to be
inhabited by trucks and tools. ³This is my 1200 square foot garage and
shop,² said Hay, who has spent the past three months stuffing straw, pouring
concrete, and surfacing stucco at his place in Pine Shadows.
The 55-year old part-time county resident lost everything but his Toyota
pickup during the holocaust that melted his collection of Fairburn agates,
as well as everything else he owned. He was uninsured for his losses.
³I used to have shade and a view,² he laughed, ³Now I just have a view.²
Starting over, Hay is creating a ³pretty much² fireproof set of structures
that will be his permanent home when he is in Hot Springs.
Hay¹s buildings are answering the call toward green living. The only lumber
is in the roof structure and the interior stays cool in the summer and warm
in the winter. ³A good thermal mass resists temperature changes,² said Hay.
The structure requires very little insulation and has an R factor of between
40 and 55. ³The difference is in how you stuff your straw,² Hay said.
³I have developed a new system of building the straw bale structure,² he
said, ³First thinking like a carpenter, and then a bridge builder.² The
garage/shop combination is his practice piece for the 3000 square foot house
he plans to build.
The process began with strategically stacking 400 bales of straw. ³You don¹t
want it to get wet,² he said. A six-inch by six-inch groove is cut into the
bales; then steel rebar and quilted, woven wires are inserted and cinched
tightly. A concrete ³sidewalk² rests on top of the bales and concrete
columns are poured into the walls as a support system. The load bearing is
in all of the concrete, Hay said.
Once the concrete sets up, it¹s time for the ³scratch² coat of stucco, which
is scratched with a trowel for better adherence to the bales; this is
followed by a ³brown² coat with a smoother texture. The finish coat will be
tinted for a colored stucco exterior. ³It will be self-sustaining,² Hay
Ironically, Hay¹s name has no bearing on his decision to build a straw home.
He said, ³I put up so much hay as a teenager I swore I¹d never touch a bale
Now he¹s returned full circle to the material that sustained his farmstead,
to a breathtaking view, to rebuild, and to renew his bonds with the earthy
materials that will make a home of his house.
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