RECOMMENDED READING & RESEARCH
Here are a few books recommended by our board members!
The Endeavour Centre has put together a great reading list so please visit their recommended reading page too.
ESSENTIAL SUSTAINABLE HOME DESIGN
A COMPLETE GUIDE TO GOALS, OPTIONS, AND THE DESIGN PROCESS
by Chris Magwood
ESSENTIAL BUILDING SCIENCE
UNDERSTANDING ENERGY AND MOISTURE IN HIGH PERFORMANCE HOUSE DESIGN
by Jacob Deva Racusin
ESSENTIAL HEMPCRETE CONSTRUCTION
THE COMPLETE STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE
by Chris Magwood
The Straw Bale House
By David Bainbridge, Athena Swentzell Steen, Bill Steen
The Natural House: A Complete Guide to Healthy, Energy-efficient, Environmental Homes
By Daniel D. Chiras
Essential Natural Plasters A Guide to Materials, Recipes, and Use
by Michael Henry & Tina Therrien
The Accessible Home:
by Deborah Pierce
Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 1, 3rd Edition
Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond, Volume 2, 2nd Edition
by Timothy Morton
Design of Straw Bale Buildings:
by Bruce King
Prescriptions for a Healthy House, 3rd Edition. A Practical Guide for Architects, Builders & Home Owners
by Paula Baker-Laporte, John C. Banta and Erica Elliott
The California Straw Building Association
The California Straw Building Association (CASBA) is an all-volunteer non-profit organization committed to straw bale building.
Endeavour Centre for Sustainable Building
Endeavour is an innovative sustainable building school based in Peterborough, Ontario offering hands-on learning opportunities.
Endeavour Centre's Sustainable Materials Encyclopedia
A free, comprehensive encyclopedia of sustainable building materials to help you choose the best sustainable housing ideas.
New Society Publishers’ mission is to publish books for a world of change in a way that has a minimum impact on our environment. Our vision is to provide the world with fundamental tools to help build a just and ecologically sustainable society.
Builders for Climate Action is growing a coalition of builders, designers, developers, policy-makers, researchers and manufacturers to tackle the serious impact of buildings on our climate and work toward climate justice for all.
A non-profit organization whose members are designers, contractors, owner builders, and people interested in straw and natural building. We serve as a clearing house for information and as a network of resources.
The Natural Building Alliance
The Natural Building Alliance is committed to expanding and sharing knowledge, experience, and techniques for sustainable building. We promote quality building practices and serve as a resource for building professionals and homeowners.
Strawbale Association (France)
Strawbale Association located in France
Eco Nest Homes
The name we have given to our holistically designed and hand-crafted natural homes. An EcoNest incorporates timber-frame, straw-clay walls, earth plasters and natural and non-toxic finishes. This combination of time-honored building traditions with modern innovations results in a home of unsurpassed health and comfort.
Green Building Advisor
Green Building Advisor is a website dedicated to sharing accurate and complete information about designing, building, and remodeling high-performance homes. With clearly presented, professional-level information, our mission is to empower architects and designers, builders and remodelers, engineers, tradespeople, and homeowners to build more durable, energy-efficient, healthy, and climate-friendly homes.
Green Home Building.com
Your hosts at greenhomebuilding.com are Kelly and Rosana Hart. We are happy to be able to provide you with the wide range of information related to sustainable architecture and natural building available at this site.
A team of intelligent, creative, and innovative professionals who truly care about the buildings that house people. Research and Consulting; Publications and Interactive Media; Training Development and Delivery; and Program Development.
Find information on how to assess and improve the energy performance of old and new homes. Learn about the government programs and incentives that help Canadians consume less energy and save money.
Building Science Corporation
Building Science Corporation is a building science consulting firm with clients throughout North America. BSC specializes in building technology consulting for all types of buildings including commercial, institutional and residential.
Construction Instruction provides leading building professionals with the tools needed to apply building science principles while integrating cost-effective, practical solutions to build better, longer lasting, healthier homes.
475’s mission is to supply essential materials, building components, and knowledge that will lead a transformation of the North American construction industry toward making durable high-performance, Passive House and zero-energy buildings.
Athena Sustainable Materials Institute
The Athena Sustainable Materials Institute is a non-profit research collaborative bringing life cycle assessment to the construction sector.
Founded in 1991 as a non-profit organization, DCAT draws on extensive experience in traditional and alternative building and development, providing strategic support for the shift to sustainable building practices.
Below is a collection of natural building and straw bale construction related documents we’ve gathered from various sources - mostly elsewhere on the web and from email lists. Some of these resources will provide you with a sense of the evolution of natural building in North America.
If you have a document related to straw bale construction or which might otherwise be of interest to the members of the ONBC please consider sending it and we will post it here for everyone.
This appendix provides prescriptive and performance-based requirements for the use of
baled straw as a building material. Other methods of strawbale construction shall be subject to approval in accordance with Section 104.11 of the International Residential Code. Buildings using strawbale walls shall comply with the International Residential Code except as otherwise stated in this appendix.
Text of the Strawbale Construction appendix as it appears in the 2015 International Residential Code (IRC).
Support letters from 2 Structural Engineers, 4 Civil Engineers, 1 Professor of Civil Engineering, 5 Architects
Other supporting documentation for Straw Bale Construction from Ecological Building Network:
BUILDING OFFICIALS GUIDE - 2004
REPORT ON CARBON FROM BUILDER FOR CLIMATE ACTION
Achieving Real Net-Zero Emission Homes: Embodied carbon scenario analysis of the upper tiers of performance in the 2020 Canadian National Building Code
The Last Straw 1993-2017
The Last Straw was a grassroots mainstay of information on natural building and was a quarterly publication from 1993-2017, providing news, inspiration and information on techniques, projects, issues, materials and more. Back issues are available from their website.
QUEEN’S UNIVERSITY TESTING
COMPRESSIVE TESTING OF PLASTERED STRAW BALES circa 2006, by Stephen Vardy and Colin MacDougall for The Journal of Green Building
COMPRESSIVE STRENGTH TESTING OF EARTHEN PLASTERS FOR STRAW BALE WALL APPLICATION (ABSTRACT) circa 2006, by Brendon Taylor, Stephen Vardy, and Colin MacDougall
COMPRESSIVE TESTING AND ANALYSIS OF A TYPICAL STRAW BALL PLASTER (ABSTRACT) circa 2006, by Stephen Vardy
REPORT TO THE ONTARIO BUILDING CODE COMMISSION - 2002, Request for Further Information. Application 2001-52, Seigel/Cochrane Residence. Kris Dick, Ph. D., P Eng
CANADA MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION
STRAW BALE MOISTURE SENSOR STUDY - 1999, Technical Series 99-206
STRAW BALE HOUSE MOISTURE SERIES - 2000, Technical Series 00-103
MOISTURE PROPERTIES OF PLASTER AND STUCCO FOR STRAW BALE BUILDINGS - 2000, Technical Series 00-132
MOISTURE PROPERTIES OF PLASTER AND STUCCO FOR STRAW BALE BUILDINGS - circa 2002, Draft Report
WOOD USAGE IN STRAW BALE HOUSE CONSTRUCTION - 2002, Technical Series 02-116
STRAW HOUSE - 1995, Straw bale construction comes of age
PRELIMINARY TEST RESULTS STRAW BALE WALLS - circa 1999, John Carrick and John Glassford
THE STRAW BALE HOUSE - circa 1999, Not for the Eastern United States, Paul Gillimore
MISSILE PERFORATION THRESHOLD SPEEDS FOR STRAW BALE WALL CONSTRUCTION WITH A STUCCO FINISH - 1999, Joseph J. Bilello and Russle R. Carter
POLICY FOR THE CONSTRUCTION OF STRUCTURAL AND NON-STRUCTURAL STRAW BALE STRUCTURES - 2000, County of Calaveras, California Building Department
ASTM E84-98 SURFACE BURNING CHARACTERISTICS 001, Straw Bale - 2000, Report No. 16237-106770. Prepared for Katrina Hayes by Omega Point Laboratories
A PILOT STUDY EXAMINING THE STRENGTH, COMPRESSIBILITY AND SERVICEABILITY OF RENDERED STRAW BALE WALLS FOR TWO STOREY LOAD BEARING CONSTRUCTION - 2000, Michael Faine and Dr. John Shang
A PILOT STUDY EXAMINING AND COMPARING THE LOAD BEARING CAPACITY AND BEHAVIOR OF AN EARTH RENDERED STRAW BALE WALL TO CEMENT RENDERED STRAW BALE WALL - 2002, Michael Faine and Dr. John Zhang
HEAT INSULATION PERFORMANCE OF STRAW BALES AND STRAW BALE WALLS - circa 2002, R. Wimmer, H. Hohensinner, L. Janisch, and M. Drack
SASKATOON CITY COUNCIL MEETING CONDENSED AGENDA - February 25, 2002
LOAD-BEARING STRAW BALE CONSTRUCTION - 2003, A summary of worldwide testing and experience. Bruce King, PE
STRAW BALE FIRE SAFETY - 2003. A review of testing and experience to date, Bob Theis, US Department of Energy
HOW STRAW DECOMPOSES - 2003, Implications for Straw Bale Construction. Mathew D. Summers, Sherry L. Blunk, Bryan M. Jenkins
TESTING OF STRAW BALE WALLS WITH OUT OF PLANE LOADS - 2003, Kevin Donahue, SE
THERMAL PERFORMANCE OF STRAW BALE WALL SYSTEMS - circa 2003, Nehemiah Stone
STRUCTURAL TESTING OF PLASTERS FOR STRAW BALE CONSTRUCTION - 2003, Kelley Lerner and Kevin Donahue
SASKATCHEWAN BUILDING OFFICIALS NEWSLETTER - January 2004, Building Standards
COMPRESSION LOAD TESTING STRAW BALE WALLS - 2004, Peter Walker
STRAW BALE CONSTRUCTION IN CHINA -2004, A comparison of obstacles between Northern and Southern rural areas for the use of Straw Bale Construction as an energy efficient building alternative, Linh Vuong
INCENTIVES AND IMPEDIMENTS TO THE ADOPTION OF GREEN BUILDING TECHNOLOGIES - circa 2004, Why Straw Materials have not Penetrated the Mainstream, Jay Ruskey
RENEWABLE RESOURCES - 2005, R. Wimmer, H. Hohensinner, and M. Drack
INITIAL MATERIAL CHARACTERIZATION OF STRAW LIGHT CLAY (ABSTRACT) - 2005, Joshua Thornton
CASE STUDY – WEONA FARMSTAY - circa 2005, Adrianne Wheeler, David Riley, and Thomas Boothby
STRAW BALE ECOLOGICAL HOUSING PROGRAM - circa 2005, Linda Zhu
STRUCTURAL TESTING OF STRAW BALES IN AXIAL COMPRESSION - 2005, Kirstin Field, James Woods, and Claudia Fedrigo
OTHER - CONVENTIONAL BUILDING REFERENCES
THE CANADIAN WOOD COUNCIL - Effective R Calculator - http://effectiver.ca/calculator/search-go-to-the-calculator.php
List of ENERGY STAR certified products
High efficiency products available in Canada
Energy Efficiency Publications https://www.nrcan.gc.ca/maps-tools-and-publications/publications/energy-publications/energy-efficiency-publications/17756
DESIGN GUIDE FOR FROST-PROTECTED SHALLOW FOUNDATIONS - 1994, NAHB Research Center
FASTENER GUIDE - 2004, City of Hopkins, MN
These regulations and rulings are based on an early understanding of how the straw bale wall system works (much of which has now been proven incorrect through testing by accredited laboratories and academic research here in Canada.) We provide these regulations only as examples of how other jurisdictions have handled straw bale construction, be it good or far more often bad.
Early regulatory resistance and a confrontational atmosphere caused a number of state and local straw bale movements to push for early code acceptance of straw bale construction. The result was several local and state building codes which included and continue to include methods which not only do not add to the strength of the straw bale wall assembly but which result in a great deal more effort to build the wall system and the use of unnecessary components with high embodied energy. The Ontario straw bale movement decided early on that educating and cooperating with our building officials would do much more for straw bale construction in the province and would allow for more flexibility and greater advances in the methods and materials used than having straw bale construction added to the building code.
BCC Ruling No. 99-56-712 - 1999, Martin Liefhebber Mississauga Co-Housing
BALE CONSTRUCTION - 2003, Clark County, Nevada Department of Development Services
BCC Ruling No. 07-24-1153 - 2007, Mika Jantunen Oro-Medonte