I was hoping to do a few small projects around home to get practise with strawbale construction, before (hopefully, if I can get building permits) tackling a strawbale/ earth sheltered hybrid home in a few years.
Anyone have experience with strawbale in extreme cold? (We are -30*C in winter and +30*C in summer)
How does it handle high humidity (especially for the greenhouse/hottub building?
Do the walls hold up to lots of rain, but mostly snow piled up to it?
I'd be a little skeptical of using straw bales in a humid environment. All the sources I see indicate that good boots and hat are required to keep water off. A friend that built one near Calgary said the most important thing he did was have the foundation 2' high. That prevented the snow from piling up against the cob.
Rammed earth outer walls with a strawbale exterior layer, cobbed, and long eaves to keep moisture and snow away from the cob.
There is some discussion about where to place insulation with regards to thermal mass, but I prefer most on the outside of the mass, with a minor amount inside as a buffer to potentially chill (at least initially) thermal mass. In that way, you get to use your thermal mass as a thermal battery, keeping you cool in the summer and warm in the winter (although in some places, maybe a hot air exchange to below slab level to store excess heat in the summer in the ground for release in the winter would be good).
Hope you're still following this thread, Jen. I would love to know how it turned out for you.
A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.
-Robert A. Heinlein
Darn I was hoping you would get back to us on your project. I am from Alberta in the foothills. I am looking at doing a chicken house straw bale construction. Trying to convince my son that we shouldcob it. Seen one project that they put a metal flashing ground up. Looked to be 18-24 inches. But alas we can get 3 feet in a weekend. So we are not going to cob outside. But I wonder if the chicken would destroy it if I finished in cob inside. Or perhaps the humidity could be a factor. The thing I can't seem to get my head around is ventilation. Worried be to sealed and no oxygen equals dead chickens.