HOME | CONTACT US
Iowa Straw Bale House Overview - Homes Across America Search Return

Iowa Straw Bale House



OVERVIEW

OVERVIEW

Demonstration-Home
Marketable-Home

20%

17%

10%

17%

10%

10%

17%

(This house reported 30 resource efficient features.
Percentages above indicate the distribution of features and total 100%)

GOALS

  • Incorporate renewable agricultural products from Iowa, straw in this case, into the home's construction.
The Iowa Straw-bale house looks right at home in its new subdivision.

HOME DETAILS

  • Location: Washington, Iowa
  • Climate Zone: Cold
  • Type of Project: New Construction
  • Home Completed: 2003
  • Setting: suburban
  • Energy Source: - natural gas - grid electric
  • Layout: Single-Family; 3 bedroom; Attached garage
  • Lot Size: 3500 sqft
  • Square Footage: 1462
  • Sales Market: Low-income
  • Cost/Square Foot: $ 96.00

PRIMARY CONTACT

Julie Myers, Development Director
MidAmerica Housing Partnership - MAHP
- Developer - Builder - Designer

Website:
Phone: 319-365-6247
Fax: 319-862-0833

Note
MAHP has a construction and design staff, so serves as its own general contractor. For this home, Rick Matthews and Gary Steger served as project managers.

SPECIAL INFORMATION

Although virtually all construction projects have unanticipated challenges, with any home deemed "alternative", it is especially important for all parties to engage in as much upfront planning and communication as possible. The Iowa Straw Bale home is a beautiful example of cooperation and craftsmanship. It is healthy, affordable, and energy efficient. By design and philosophy, the MidAmerica Housing Partnership put the majority of its green materials into the interior of this home to make it comfortable and perform well. The home actually exceeds our expectations. Without many people working together and conscientiously to make it happen, however, the project would not be the success it is.

Among things we would do differently is make sure we had the stucco constractor lined up and all questions about the home's exterior answered before installing the straw bales. And, although using volunteers was absolutely necessary to get this home completed close to budget, we learned ways to better manage the work flow to maximize their contributions. These lessons will be used on our next project. Having volunteers involved, however, enabled MAHP to pursue one of its larger goals, which is to educate people on the importance and ways of resource efficient home construction. Our volunteers did more than work. They provided important feedback as to how to build the home so it accomplished its goals.

Because of the nature of this home and the humid Iowa climate, planning for moisture was a major design and building issue. We broke this down into three phases. Phase I detailed specifically how to harvest and store the straw bales, with ongoing monitoring of their moisture content. Phase II was the design of the exterior structure. Phase III was formulating and applying the stucco exterior.

Heating coils for the slab floor heating system were secured before the fly ash concrete was called in.

Volunteers and home grown straw bales were important parts of the project.

This showcase is for educational and informational purposes. It is meant to provide ideas and contacts for further assistance. We do not endorse particular products or services. It is the responsibility of the user to check references and facts prior to making use of the information.

The contents of this website are public information and may not be copyrighted in any form, sold or used for profit in any way. The information within the showcase may only be printed when this notice is included and credit is given to the Peaks to Prairies Pollution Prevention Information Center and the individuals cited in each home profile.