Provo/Orem Energy Source

Documenting my struggle to educate myself on energy issues and providing a resources for others trying to do the same. There is no something for nothing, in energy or anything else. If you make comments please be respectful of the opinions of others.

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Friday, April 13, 2007

Alternative Building Techniques

I've been very interested in alternative building methods and using less energy in construction and living. I really started my learning reading about passive solar design about 2 years ago, but have made a much more thorough study over the past 6 months. Most of the learning has been book learning, but I have also visited a home designed and built with to be heated and cooled passively that I've already written a post on, and I've also visit a staw bale greenhouse in Feb up in Salt Lake, (800 S 600 E), the only strawbale structure I'm aware of anywhere close to where I live. The following is a list of the useful information that I have used in my search.

  • I bought and read: The Beauty of Straw Bale Homes - Athena and Bill Steen (Chelsea Green)
  • These were the best books on the topic that I read from the Provo City Library:
    • The Good House Book: A common sense guide to Alternative Home Building - Clarke Snell (A Natural Home Book)
    • The Passive Solar House: Using solar design to heat and cool your home - James Kachadorian (Chelsea Green)
    • EcoNest: creating sustainable sanctuaries of clay, strawand timber - Paula Baker-Laporte and Robert Laporte
    • The New Ecological Home: A simple guide to green building options - Daniel D Chiras (Chelsea Green)
    • Earth Sheltered Homes - Rob Roy (A Mother Earth News Book)
  • These were the other books on the topic that I read from the Provo City Library:
    • The Real Goods Independant Builder: Designing and building a house your own way - Sam Clark (Chelsea Green)
    • The Solar House: Passive heating and cooling - Daniel D Chiras (Chelsea Green)
  • Websites I've found informative


Blogger NoSurfGirl said...

Hi... my husband and I would also LOVE to build a strawbale home. We live in Provo. We're thinking about the possibility of building it in the springville/spanish fork area. Do you know if the city of provo (or spanish fork, or springville) has code requirements for strawbales, what they are? Do they even allow strawbale homes?



4:59 PM  
Blogger Matthew Whiting said...

Sarah, I'm glad for your interest in strawbale building. I will leave a comment on one of your blogs to make sure you get this response. I'm in the middle of talking with county zoning and building officals. I haven't broached the subject of strawbale yet, but plan to. As I understand it, if you have an licensed engineer (in UT) sign off on the plans, the building department won't have any problems with it.

Most of my efforts over the last year have been in getting a cohousing group together here in the valley. If you are not familiar with cohousing community's they consist of privately owned homes, with (usually)commonly owned land and some common facilities. We have at least one family in our group who is set on building with straw bales, adobe floors, etc and I would love to do so as well. We have a strong agricultural bent as well as the green building mindset. Please check out our groups website for more info if your interested.

My contact info is included on the site if you'd like to contact me directly, or if your not interested in the group, but just want more info on straw bale building.

-Matt Whiting

1:22 PM  
Blogger Devi Jewels said...

Hi Matthew,

You appear to have been studying something I will soon need to know. I'm moving from Asheville, NC to the Provo area quite soon and I'll be involved in building a residential structure for a local non-profit. Though Asheville's a mecca for green building, I have no idea what alternative materials and methods are so far code approved there. Next month I will be helping to put up the first hemp house in the US, which would be a dream to do in Utah. It will create a precedent, but I imagine hemp may take awhile to proliferate. In the meantime, what alternative materials have succeeded there? If that list is not something you've run across yet, who would you recommend I talk to?

Merlin MacDonald

1:22 PM  

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