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Old 05-12-2008, 11:17 AM
 
Location: Connecticut
6 posts, read 22,952 times
Reputation: 14

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I am moving to the Cedar Rapids area and would like to buy rural land and build a straw bale/cob house. Has anyone had such an experience? I'd like to know how straw bale friendly the local building officials are.
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Old 05-12-2008, 02:36 PM
 
Location: in the general vicinity of Cedar Rapids, Iowa
296 posts, read 1,194,460 times
Reputation: 184
Talk to the folks at Prairiewoods, the Franciscan retreat in Hiawatha: Prairiewoods: Franciscan Spirituality Center They have built two "hermitages" (small cottages) using straw bale construction.

My own preference is insulating concrete forms (ICF), leave-in-place foam forms that you put together like legos, inserting reinforcing rod as needed. You can do just the foundation this way or the whole structure. We only did the foundation this way, but use geothermal (closed loop!) heat with an in-floor loop and our heating bills, even this last horrible winter, are less for our 3500 square foot house than they are at my Mom's 800 square foot electric-baseboard heated place. We like to frame things, so it would have been hard to do the whole house with ICF, but there's a place I drive by regularly where that's what they did. Very efficient, and strong!
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Old 05-13-2008, 10:30 AM
 
Location: Chariton, Iowa
681 posts, read 2,835,529 times
Reputation: 451
I'm sure there's resources at the University that could help as well. Iowa is pretty humid, with wide temperature changes--so it could be tricky. But, as the Franciscians have shown, it can be done!

I have no idea how friendly the building inspectors would be toward it. I doubt they see too many.
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Old 05-13-2008, 08:11 PM
 
Location: Connecticut
6 posts, read 22,952 times
Reputation: 14
Thanks again WoodwardGirl! I am really excited to go check out the strawbale hermitages at Prairiewoods. I am thriled because they have incorporated many of the choices I have decided upon for my family home, such as radiant floor heating, wetlands greywater system, solar electric. I can't wait to go there! Thanks for the referal.
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Old 05-14-2008, 06:46 PM
 
Location: in the general vicinity of Cedar Rapids, Iowa
296 posts, read 1,194,460 times
Reputation: 184
You bet! Prairiewoods is a wonderful place. They take ideas that many people consider to be a bit "out there" and don't just recommend them, they LIVE them. You can learn to practice Reikii, get a massage, or join a book discussion group. I'm glad you've found somewhere you are excited to visit -- makes looking forward to a move so much easier! Best wishes!
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Old 05-21-2013, 05:44 PM
 
Location: around the way
656 posts, read 975,783 times
Reputation: 427
Sorry for the thread necromancy, but this is a topic of great interest to me and I'm curious to see if anybody else has anything worth adding. Straw bale is supposedly a great insulator but a little expensive and hard to work with. I'm also interested in using earthbags (aka "superadobe"), as they're cheap and can be used to make some very interesting forms, but supposedly they don't insulate very well at all without special filler.
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Old 05-22-2013, 08:25 AM
 
Location: Keosauqua, Iowa
9,261 posts, read 17,906,353 times
Reputation: 12592
StrawBale.com | Straw Bale House Construction Information
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