April 30, 2011

Considering Types of Homes - The Straw Bale House

When done right this type of home is extremely efficient with an R value of around 28!  From the outside most of these homes don't look any different from other homes. The construction can be very versatile to any design whether traditional or contemporary.  What I love about these homes are the deep window sills where you can sit and relax and take in the view.

Our major concern with the hale bale building structure is the bales being very porous.  If moisture were to get trapped in an air pocket we can see how mold would grow rapidly. According to this article it should not be a concern if the bales are properly compacted.

Being that we are in the northern climate we need to heed words from articles like this one at Green 3D Home. Quoting the article:

"The major disadvantages of straw bale construction are rot and infestation. Rot is the result of improper moisture control. In arid regions, moisture isn't much of a concern but in northern climates, special attention should be paid to controlling moisture seepage and infiltration and also removing moisture from the walls."

I found another very informative .pdf here that lays out some ways to prevent moisture problems and stucco cracks for those who desire to overcome this issue.

The more I read the more I see that the straw bale home is doable and very efficient. I just watched a YouTube video of a single mom who built a 1200 square foot straw bale house for $50,000 with only a few projects hired out professionally. (i.e. the roof and plumbing)  She gave a very positive report of the home after 7 years. I would really like to hear more tried and true stories, but the way in which the homes are constructed has only been around about 17 years with the first permit handed out in 1995 in Arizona. Straw bale homes were built prior to 1950. I would like to see or hear stories of how these homes have held up over the years.

We have ruled this type of construction out.  The risk of getting moisture into one of the pockets of air could create a very costly problem, especially in our northern Michigan climate.  This is a risk we don't want to take on.  Another factor is that we desire to  maintain an organic/natural lifestyle and I'm sure bug friends would feel the need to make their home in our bales and we would not desire to use chemicals for our sake.

Pretty soon we will be sharing our desired building structure, but I want to give a good thorough look at green building structures and share our reasons why we are not choosing these alternative options for building our home.

April 19, 2011

April is a slow month

There is not a lot happening for our transition this month.  We are waiting on the bank, sold a bunch of stuff on craigslist already, and our dream switch feels turned off right now until something starts happening with the house sale. This is hard when the motivation is high.   We just need to keep plugging away with fixing up the house and getting it ready for the next home owners.

My summer money savings list has not quite gotten off the ground yet.  I've hung clothes out to dry on the nice days, but April is known for rain so we'll have to hold off a bit.  We will be going dishwasher free when our dishwasher soap runs out.

I've purchase grapefruit dish soap to help with ants. Did you know that ants don't like citrus?  If you get aunts by your sink try a citrus dish soap. It works for me! That and keeping the counters free of little ant treasures.

So, please forgive me for the lack of posting.  There really isn't much to talk about these days. It's just the waiting game right now.

April 6, 2011

Craigslist works for us!

We have done so well selling stuff on craigslist that I am considering a career in it. Not really, but it does make me want to go garage-saling to find really cheaply priced nice things and resell them. It is garage sale season and if I can make a few bucks before we sell the house it would be useful. Perhaps I could set the money aside for getting new things when we move or maybe I can buy some fabric for curtains or cloth napkins or something.  The extent of our success with craigslist has been about $350 plus a trade for a 6 person tent! 

We were just joking at my in-laws tonight about me starting a craigslist sales business where I would sell stuff for people after their garage sales are over and charge 5-10%.  The logistics sounded too complicated once we started talking details, but we had a great name picked out. KCQ (doesn't that roll off your tongue nicely?)  Katy the Craigslisting Queen.  Craigslist shoppers would know me so well they would stop by my house just to find out what I had for sale that day.

Click here to see my favorite "best of craigslist" ad