CASBA, California Straw Building Association

CASBA sponsors workshops, conferences and seminars on straw building, and funds testing and research into strawbale construction. Check their website for upcoming activities and become involved. 



       The BuildWell Library is a project of the Ecological Building Network

       The BuildWell Library is a project of the Ecological Building Network

The BuildWell Library and Ecological Building Network

EBNet began the work of connecting the people who were researching and developing ecological building materials and systems -- how those materials perform and how to design and build with them -- with the people who are interested in putting that information to work in the real world-- designers, builders, engineers, building officials, manufacturerers and home owners. The result has been a synergistic hub where information passes from those who develop it to those who can use it. The BuildWell Library is a natural extension of this work. 

Strawbale Construction Code

Text of the Strawbale Construction appendix as it appears in the 2015 International Residential Code (IRC). Commentary and illustrations for Appendix S will appear in the 2015 IRC and Commentary publication (expected availability July 1, 2015).

This strawbale construction code represents the most recent peer-reviewed guidelines and code for strawbale construction, and is an excellent and reliable base for strawbale design and construction practices.

Design of Straw Bale Buildings: The State of the Art

This book gathers within its covers the collective wisdom and experience of the most senior and respected figures in the field of straw bale construction.

The enormous environmental and energy-conserving properties of straw bale construction are now well-known, and this book is the essential reference for architects, engineers, building officials, lending institutions, and anyone else interested in building with straw bales.

If you intend to design or build with straw bales, just get this book to your design team, and they'll have everything they need. And if your building inspector needs information, this book provides answers. While there are many lovely picture books on straw bale houses, this is the book that shows how to do it right, and why.  Only $20.

The Art of Natural Building - Second Edition - Completely Revised, Expanded and Updated

The Art of Natural Building is the complete and user-friendly introduction to natural building for everyone from do-it-yourselfers to architects and designers. This collection of articles from 60 leaders in the field is stunningly illustrated with over 400 photos of natural buildings from around the world.  ohn Swearingen of Skillful Means contributed to the section on green roofs.

Bill Christensen, Sustainable Sources Website

The site also is a rich resource for sustainable building, including links, events, current news, resources, real estate, professionals directory, materials database and more. 

Greenbuilder maintains an international registry of bale buildings, some of which are available to visit.

Build It Green, Smart Environmental Solutions

Build It Green's program development strategy has been to incubate good ideas in the San Francisco Bay Area, helping to establish California as a role model to other states and the nation for developing pragmatic solutions to environmental challenges.  
Build It Green provides professional forums and events that bring together stakeholders from key building industries. Forums facilitate learning, encourage advocacy, grow leadership skills, and leverage the capacity of individuals and organizations en masse to work toward mutually beneficial goals.

The Last Straw Journal, since 1993, has covered important developments in the natural building world that translate to a reduced impact on the natural environment.  TLS provides in-depth stories from around the world about people who are reviving and pushing the boundaries of building materials and systems and the impact they have on cultures and societies.

The TLS website is a resource for information on natural building techniques and materials, as well as a calendar of events relating to strawbale and natural building.

Christopher Alexander & team show that architecture connects people to their surroundings in an infinite number of ways, most of which are subconscious, and for this reason, it is important to discover what works--what feels pleasant, what is nourishing, what sustains families and communities of people, and what links us to the natural environment. 

Many solutions to these situations can be found in vernacular architecture, buildings created without architects, and often refined over centuries. 

At the core of the book is the idea that people should design for themselves their own houses, streets, and communities. This idea may be radical but it comes simply from the observation that most of the wonderful places of the world were not made by architects but by the people.

The book is one of the largest selling, and enduring, architecture books of all time. You can use this book to design a house for yourself with your family, you can use it to work with your neighbors to improve your town and neighborhood, you can use it to design an office, or a workshop, or a public building.  


Dieter Rams, Ten Principles of Good Design

Dieter Rams began as an architect and then became an industrial designer, famous as the main designer for Braun electric, and an enormous influence on all that as to follow (think Apple). His principles of design are always worth reviewing and holding in mind. 

"Indifference towards people and the reality in which they live is actually the one and only cardinal sin in design"

"Less is better."