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Earth-sheltered, strawbale/cob/earthbag hybrid

Posts: 10
Location: Crooked Roots Farm, in NW Wisconsin
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First time poster, long time fan here...This site is a GOLD MINE. My wife and I just purchased 10 acres and are building an earth-sheltered home this spring as soon as the ground thaws on the south shore of Lake Superior in NW Wisconsin. I've been planning the house for months. We were originally planning to build a dome home and came across Simon Dale's site during our research and fell in love with the idea. Although we've had to alter many parts of the design to try to stay within the confines of the building code, we have decided to do the timber frame and reciprocal roof living roof, rubble trench/frost protected shallow footings with 20 foot wing insulation on the south side, leading to the drain tile that encircles the entire umbrella of the building. We plan on using earthbags to build a retaining wall for our earth berm on the north, east and west sides and using them for the foundation/stem wall on the south side. Everything inside will be on a gravel pad with a cob floor (similar to slab-on-grade) for thermal mass. My question (if anyone can help) is whether or not to use strawbales with cob plaster or just plain cob on the south side? We have long, cold winters and we'll have a LOT of windows on that side of the house, so I don't know if there will be any REAL advantage as far as insulative value (not to mention the cost of shipping and trying to find them this time of year) to using straw bales as per my original design. We also plan on building a green house on the outside of that wall probably next spring. With cob, we could run a rocket mass heater through that wall...Anyone have any insight? Thanks for reading!
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