Northern Cheyenne House Innovations: Agricultural and Recycled Materials - Homes Across America Search Return

Northern Cheyenne House




Goals of Innovation: To use materials made from agricultural byproducts or recycled content for their inherent structural, insulating or aesthetic value.

To reduce the overall environmental impact of the building by using locally produced or reclaimed products.

Description: Several materials used are made from agricultural byproducts or recycled content that may be locally produced or acquired:

* The concrete foundation contains a high volume flyash content. Fly ash is an industrial byproduct which can replace a percentage of the cement in a concrete mixture to actually improve the strength of the finished material.
* Strawbales comprise the primary structure of the building, and also provide the primary insulation. Strawbales are available and cost-competitive within the norther plains region and are an agricultural byproduct.
* Cellulose fiber used as a secondary form of insulation is made from recycled newsprint.

* Flyash content of concrete increases strength but can also accelerate curing time which gives less time to work the wet concrete.
* Strawbale walls built with the appropriate rebar supports and cross bracing are structurally robust below a height of roughly 10 feet. Throughout the construction process before finish stucco is applied, bales must be kept dry at all times and away from any sources of flame.
* Agricultural board is significantly more dense than a comparable material such as plywood, but not as strong.

Cost Information: The homeowner/family took out a modest mortgage (less than $50,000 US) to cover the materials for the house that were not donated. Due to the high value added by volunteer labor and pro-bono design and engineering services this represents instant equity in a home would likely be appraised over $ 110,000 US.

Red Feather is able to obtain cost reductions in design, materials and especially installation by bringing pro-bono services and volunteer labor to drive down costs. Volunteer construction lends itself to stucco work and strawbale construction; stuccoed strawbale walls are easy and fun to construct with large work groups.

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