Click here to learn more about design criteria and considerations. Here are some tips to keep in mind:
If your local building codes do not have regulations for building with straw bale, you may face planning challenges. This might require working with local engineers and architects who are familiar with natural materials to help in gaining this approval.
Due to the thickness of straw bale, most of your square footage will be taken up by the wall thickness.
If straw bale material is not locally available, you may have additional shipping costs and the additional challenge of ensuring they arrive intact
Straw bales are a natural and renewable material with a significantly lower environmental footprint than most other types of insulation materials
Compared to current building materials, adobe bricks produce minimal net waste and zero hazardous waste. In the entire cycle of an adobe house’s life, the footprint on the environment is small.
When materials are harvested from the local environment, transportation energy and material costs decreases significantly
By avoiding using modern building materials that require high energy to produce, adobe bricks have a much lower carbon footprint and use local materials and natural heat and solidify the structure
In climates typified by hot days and cool nights, the high thermal mass of adobe mediates the high and low temperatures of the day, moderating the temperature of the living space. Adobe’s thermal mass makes it a very energy efficient material. During the colder winter months, the clay and sand compound absorbs energy from the sun, radiating heat throughout. During the warmer months, this material stores the leftover coolness from the previous night.
Abode homes can be customized and designed to your needs and preferred aesthetic. Exposed wooden beams and unique window shapes add warmth and color to your home.
Rammed earth is non-toxic, non-polluting and ‘breathes’. This creates safer, more people-friendly buildings. It is very low in embodied energy, and extremely comfortable to live in.
Once they are built and sealed, they shouldn’t need any further attention for at least 10-20 years. Rammed earth walls are features that stand alone and don’t need finishing with plasterboard or render, inside or outside.
A wall system in a rammed earth home can cost about 30 percent to 50 percent more than a conventional wood-frame house due to manual labor, which means the entire home might cost about 5 percent to 15 percent more
Rammed earth has high thermal mass but low insulation. This makes rammed homes good for desert like environments but challenging in places with prolonged cold weather and rain. This factors might require additional insulation, as well as a larger roof, so that the overhangs protect the earthen walls.
The initial cost of rammed earth construction is comparable to conventional masonry construction, however the longevity of rammed earth homes far passes that of traditional homes.
The average stick-frame home has a life span of 49 years, while a properly built rammed earth house can last 1000+ years. The primary factors affecting the cost are design and site characteristics.
Green roofs offer many benefits, but there are some added structural challenges that are important to consider:
A greater expense than traditional roofs. They tend to be slightly more expensive than the traditional option, but can also help you save money on energy
An increase in weight load. Green roofs are heavier and as such, require more structural support to be implemented
A yearly inspection to remove problematic shrubs helps reduce the potential for developing leaks
limited plant choices for extensive green roofs
3- 6″ of light weight growing medium.
low-maintenance ground-cover plants.
ideal for large flat-roof buildings and apartments.
suitable for low-sloped residential roofs and retrofits.
desert grasses and succulent plants.
after one year, they do not require watering.
annual spring weeding of tree seedlings & weeds – brought in by birds and wind.
also known as rooftop gardens
8-12 inches, or more, of growing medium.
fully landscaped roof top garden.
diverse plants and trees can be planted (avoids plants with invasive root systems).
walkways, railings and lighting can be incorporated
parks, playgrounds or vegetable gardens can be built
Semi-intensive roofs, combinations of both extensive and intensive green roofs, are typically adopted to harness both the environmental benefits of a green roof, as well as a diverse garden within a manageable maintenance budget.
ideal for long-term care facilities, daycare play spaces, employee picnic areas, and urban agriculture