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Sources of Information about Alternative Building


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FREE PDF: Guide to Straw Bale Building

Get started with some answers to your basic question of "Can I do it?" with this free PDF "Guide to Straw Bale Building".

"The Last Straw" The International Journal of Straw Bale and Natural Building

Joyce Coppinger, Editor,
The Last Straw

Small Strawbale (has plans, publ: Gibb Smith (lots of good books)
The New Strawbale Home - Cath. Wanek
"More Strawbale Building"
The Last Straw: # 50 and #25 -- design and construction basic issues.
New Old House, Knapp
Green By Dsign - Dean
Eco Nest (Light Clay Straw -- German in New Mexico?) Laporte

Californial Straw Building Association

We’re a non-profit organization whose members are architects, engineers, builders, and people interested in straw building. Our mission is to"...further the practice of straw building by exchanging current information and practical experience, promoting and conducting research and testing, and making that body of knowledge available to working professionals and the public at large."
Joy Bennett
California Strawbale Association

CASBA is one of the leading sources of information online about straw bale building. Here is a link to their links to other nonprofits:

Links to straw bale nonprofits

The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center

is a nonprofit organizing and education center and organic farm in Northern California’s Sonoma County. OAEC was founded in 1994 by a group of biologists, horticulturists, educators, activists, and artists seeking innovative and practical approaches to the pressing environmental and economic crises of our day. Arts and ecology center for sustainable and permaculture, etc.
The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center

California Rice Commission

The best straw bales to use depends on your location. In California rice bales are used because of our large rice industry. In other regions the bales might be oat straw or wheat straw. Hay is never used because it has too many potentially sprouting and molding properties.

Rice is the most widely consumed grain in the world. In addition to feeding a third of the world's population, rice impacts some facet of our lives every day. In California, there is a much larger story to tell than the simple story of growing rice varieties that are world-renowned. The state's ricelands provide an unparalleled wildlife habitat for hundreds of species. In fact, the Sacramento Valley was recently designated as a Shorebird Habitat of International Significance by the well-respected Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences.
California Rice Commission

Network Productions

Creating and disseminating media to help regenerate the earth -- including natural building, straw bale solutions, permaculture and projects that implement these strategies
Network Productions

Organic Volunteers: California page

Matchmaking site for volunteers on organic farms and retreats. Costs $20 to sign up to be a volunteer.

Califorina Organic Volunteer opportunities

California Certified Organic Farmers

Organic Directory - Search for organic products and services in the CCOF Organic Directory Online. Find organic produce, processed products, and services from over 1,300 CCOF certified businesses and farms. California Certified Organic Farmers

Green Building Labor Classifieds

Need construction labor? Employment exchange of the green building community including Bale construction, Earth construction, Equipment and Tool Exchange, Rental or Sales, Workshops and Volunteers.

Well, it's a great idea...but no participation. I'll look for more sources because this is a wonderful idea!

Green Building Labor Classifieds

CASE STUDIES -- WE DID IT! Sometimes you need to see samples of what can be done. Here they are:

The Registry of all things Straw Bale: The International Straw Bale Registry, The Last Straw Journal, The Straw Bale Association of Texas, and the Development Center for Appropriate Technology, along with a number of regional strawbale organizations, are working together to build a database of buildings constructed using straw bale. Need photos, a tour, information to present to the suits? Find credible information here. The International Straw Bale Registry

Arm of the Spiral

This web site was created to promote the fusion of sustainable and natural building methods and to encourage the would-be owner/builder to take up his or her courage and Do It! Arm of the Spiral's "You Can Do It! -- Part One" instructional DVD is now available. Learn strawbale building techniques. Get inspired to start planning your design now. See how to make the process a fun and rewarding one.

Arm of the Spiral case study

Brian Fuentes, Architect, Boulder, Colorado

Brian gives an excellent overview of how straw bale and natural building options fit into modern architecture and green living.

Fuentes Design

Colorado Straw Bale Association

COSBA is committed to expanding and sharing knowledge, experience and techniques for straw bale and sustainable building. COSBA promotes quality building practices and serves as a resource to building professionals and homeowners.

The Ecological Building Network A non-profit organization in Sausalito, California. We are a growing and international association of builders, engineers, architects, academics and developers committed to promoting intelligent building methods and materials for a sustainable future.

An article on the building characteristics of straw bales

Comprehensive site on green and sustainable building practices. Kelly Hart has been involved with green building concepts for much of his life. He has also worked in various fields of communication media, including still photography, cinematography, animation, video production and now website development. Kelly lives in an earthbag/papercrete home that he built and consults about sustainable building design. is

Camelback Construction

Camelback Construction I love these folks' sense of humor and their dedication to straw bale construction.

"Homework: Handbuilt Shelter" is the book to own for inspiration and ideas. From funky to fantastic and everything in between.

Eco Home Center

Sustainable Building Supplies, Healthy Home Decor, Formaldehyde-free alternatives to Oriented Strand Board (OSB)

Eco Home Center

Sustainability Education Handbook

Resource guide for K-12 Teachers helping students create a more healthy, habitable, and equitable world for all beings. These activities are correlated with the Michigan State Framework Standards for the grades indicated in brackets. The activities are by no means complete curriculum but will hopefully provide ideas to "springboard" from when creating new lessons for your classes. Website and curriculum information is listed after each entry to assist you in learning more about the topic and discovering new teaching resources and strategies. Have fun!

Active Citizenship, Ecology, Natural Resources, Agriculture, Economics, Non-Humans, Air Quality, Energy, Population, Architecture, Environmental Action/ Community Restoration , Technology, Bioregionalism, Ethics, Water, Consumption, Living Systems, Wilderness

Sustainability Education

California Solar Center - Incentives

Financial incentive programs across California for use of solar energy systems. California Solar Center - Solar Forums are a great place to learn about the latest regarding the solar industry and a great place to network with your peers. FREE downloadable reports, consumer guides, net metering tariffs, tax information, etc.relevant to California consumers and businesses.

Directory of California Incentive Programs

Free Downloads

Map of California Transmission Grid


LocalHarvest maintains a definitive and reliable "living" public nationwide directory of small farms, farmers markets, and other local food sources. Our search engine helps people find products from family farms, local sources of sustainably grown food, and encourages them to establish direct contact with small farms in their local area. Our online store helps small farms develop markets for some of their products beyond their local area. Local Harvest Directory

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Earth's Most Successful Life Form
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Habitat on Your Balcony and Garden Patio
Keeping ants in nature where they belong