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Essential Prefab Straw Bale Construction

Prefabricated straw bale wall panels combine the performance and low environmental impact of traditional straw bale with reduced labor and more consistent results. These structural insulated panels (SIPs) are built offsite and transported to the job site, or built onsite and "tipped up" into position. Essential Prefabricated Straw Bale Construction is a fully illustrated practical guide to this affordable, scalable method. This indispensable manual includes a complete introduction to the use of prefabricated bale walls, packed with all the information you need to determine whether they are the right choice for your project. It covers: Specifications, engineering details and building code references Comprehensive step-by-step instructions and detail drawings Finishing and maintenance techniques Budgeting and labor estimates Additional resources Essential Prefabricated Straw Bale Construction is part of New Society's Sustainable Building Series. Written by the world's leading sustainable builders, designers and engineers, these succinct, user-friendly handbooks are indispensable tools for any project where accurate and reliable information are key to success. Get the Essentials! Chris Magwood is a sustainable builder and designer specializing in green and natural building techniques, the co-founder and co-director of the Endeavour Centre, and the author of several books on sustainable building including Making Better Buildings, More Straw Bale Building and Straw Bale Details.
Product Details

Table of Contents

1. Material properties and appropriate use - When, where and how the material is best used a. General use parametersb. Specific exclusionsc. MBB ratings/charts2. Material specification - How, where and why to select each material element 3. Building code references - Details on testing and engineering parameters matched to current US and Canadian code standards a. Code referencesb. Testing documentationc. Engineer's notes4. Plan drawings - Overall drawings for several approaches, and key detail drawings for meeting specific code and climate goals a. Section/plan for all basic types of installationsb. Specific details for all installations and major intersectionsc. Construction notes5. Tools - List of all required tools6. Construction instructions - Drawings and photos to show the steps involved in working with the material/system in the same approaches treated in the Plan Drawings section a. Follow all installation types shown in drawingsb. Step-by-step instructions with drawings/photos for each7. Budgeting information - Material and labour estimates for each of the approaches illustrated8. Finishes - Drawings and photos to show the steps involved in working with the material/system in several code- and climate-specific ways 9. Maintenance and Renovation - Drawings and photos to assist with future upkeep and alterationsGlossaryList of resources and material suppliersIndex

Promotional Information

Features offered to Green Builder, Fine Home BuildingExcerpts offered to Mother Earth News, GRIT, Acres USA,, Natural Building NetworksAdvertising in Mother Earth News Promoted through author's website Promotion as part of the Sustainable Building Essentials SeriesPromotions targeting key members of the green and natural building community through organizations such as US and Canadian Green Building Councils and Natural Building NetworksPublicity and promotion in conjunction with the author's speaking engagements and workshopsGalleys on Edelweiss

About the Author

Chris Magwood has designed and built some of the most innovative buildings in North America, including the first off-grid, straw bale home in Ontario which became a fifteen-year research project into the implementation of sustainable building materials and technologies. He is a director of the Endeavour Centre in Peterborough, Ontario where he teaches hands-on workshops and is a lead instructor for the Sustainable New Construction certificate program. Chris is co-editor of the Sustainable Building Series and author of several previous books on sustainable building, including Making Better Buildings, More Straw Bale Building and Straw Bale Details. He is a regular contributor to Mother Earth News, Home Power and The Last Straw Journal.


...Hemp as a building material is one of the most important uses of this plant. Essential Hempcrete Construction explains this new technology in a clear and concise manner. With this information anyone wanting to use this material will have a great starting point. ---Steve Allin, Director, International Hemp Building Association and author, Building with Hemp In a field that is often beset with more wishful thinking than honest appraisal, Essential Hempcrete Construction stands out as a well-researched in investigation into the potential and promise of hemp-lime systems in the contemporary built-environment. ---Tim Callahan, co-author of Building Green and founding partner at Alembic Studio, LLC Hempcrete/hemp-lime construction is one of the simplest and most effective and affordable solutions for sustainable, healthy and energy efficient building available to mainstream builders and self-help enthusiasts alike. Magwood has years of experience of natural building and sound construction practice so this book provides excellent, well-illustrated, guidance." ---Tom Woolley, author, Building Materials, Health and Indoor Air Quality; Low Impact Building; and Hemp-Lime Construction Essential Hempcrete Construction is an informative and easy to read guide/instruction manual to building with hemp-lime. Magwood has been able to simplify the data for us and compare costs to other conventional building materials, he has also managed to keep it brief and to-the-point so as to quickly help us make an informed decision to build with hemp-lime or not. This book is a time (and money) saver - worth every penny. ---Greg Flavall, Hemp Technologies Collective Essential Hempcrete Construction is an exciting manual for homeowners, building teachers, building officials and contractors. Filled with photos and drawings that help all of us make choices that are ultimately going to support long lasting buildings. Solid and fun to read. ---Sukita Reay Crimmel, coauthor, Earthen Floors Chris Magwood has combined his deep understanding of building science with some fortuitous hands-on experience of working with hempcrete to craft this timely and detailed guide to the essentials of hempcrete construction. By simply mixing the lightweight core of hemp stalks (an agricultural byproduct) with lime it is possible to make an insulating material that can handle moisture without decomposing, has good structural qualities and thermal performance, is nontoxic and fire resistant, naturally sequesters carbon, and is ultimately completely recyclable. With the successful use of hempcrete in Europe for over a decade, hopefully this book will help usher in a new era of industrial hemp production in North America. ---Kelly Hart Chris Magwood's easy-to-read, thoughtful, and practical book on building with hempcrete is a must-have for my work as a designer and builder focused on resilient, natural, and low carbon construction. In a world increasingly threatened by climate change, practical solutions are needed now to lower our collective ecological impact as a building trade. Essential Hempcrete Construction is a critical tool in our toolkits. ---Ace McArleton, coauthor, The Natural Building Companion, and cofounder, New Frameworks Natural Design/Build LLC

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