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Book Review: The Straw Bale House

If we learned anything from childhood, it was not to build our houses out of straw. After all, that big bad wolf was just waiting to blow it down. But that was before the world knew the numerous advantages of using compressed straw bales, as a key building material as outlined in the book The Straw Bale House. This easy to understand book is comprehensive in its education on how to build with straw- so that no wolf (or tornado for that matter) can ever blow it down. The book covers why and how to build with straw bales, while also illustrating necessary details to create an aesthetically and sound home at an affordable price. To portray this point, The Straw Bale House provides a good number of enlightening black and white diagrams as well as impressive color photographs.

I would have to say The Straw Bale House is the Bible of straw bale construction books and therefore an indispensable starting point for anyone looking into the straw bale home concept. After purchasing the book (well worth the price) I had no reservations about going ahead with my own project and building with straw bales. Both new and experienced builders will appreciate the clear, simple instructions and diagrams, as well as practical explanations for dealing with building codes and insurers. The Straw Bale House also nurtures you on the many practical advantages of building with compressed straw bales. In addition to being inexpensive, straw bale serve as a clean, and lightweight building material that is easy to work with.

The book discusses the many important advantages straw offers such as super high-energy efficiency (a need in todayís high heating costs), superior fire resistance, while at the same time seismically correct. In addition, this all-natural material, as a recycled agricultural byproduct of grain production, is a sustainable, renewable resource. While enthusiasts of straw bale construction praise this method of building for the aforementioned reasons, the actual reason so many people are turning to straw bale homes is because they are so often extraordinarily beautiful and inviting, as The Straw Bale House's many color photographs displays. Clearly, inexpensive doesn't have to mean low quality nor unattractive. The natural materials used in creating a straw bale home exude a lot of chi. And so does this book. The Straw Bale House would be a good addition to any coffee table.


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