January 19, 2013

Straw Bale & Cob House An’at

Our latest natural building design

So in an effort to make our house both affordable and ecologically sound we’ve tried our best to shrink it down to a comfy size. The smaller the house the easier it is to manage and pay for up front and over the long haul. Remember that the more surface area between the interior and exterior the easier it is for heat to escape and the harder it will be to cool it in the summer. That takes us back to the idea of building round – something we could do if we were to do so on a large enough bit of land but that we won’t do on a rectilinear set of city lots.

If you’ve read this blog before or go read previous posts you’ll see an evolution of designs from roundhouses to homes that are rectilinear with the north and south faces being the widest faces to take advantage of passive solar design. Passive solar is still important to us but seeing as how we plan to use straw bales on the north, east, and west walls we’re less worried about heat loss. I could go on and on but I think showing you the newest design is probably the best way for you to understand what we are planning and why.

This design is made to fit on a lot that we’ve found just outside of the city (of Pittsburgh). It’s .6 acres and is at the top of a south-facing slope. It’s in a sub-division (I never thought I’d want to live in the dreaded burbs) but the neighborhood was built in the 60s so the houses are older, smaller, and though we’ve not met the folks who live there from looking at their houses and what they have in front of them they don’t seem like a bad lot.

We’ve got a contract on the land but we’ve got a few things left to figure out before we close. We’re really excited – this is the closest we’ve been and even before we build the house we’ll be able to start to plant things there and lay the groundwork for our suburban homestead.

Thanks for reading and as always if you have questions please leave a comment or reach me through the contact page.

January 19, 2013 | W.D.Orkoskey
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