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.
I was thinking of doing a chicken coop. Just for a dozen or so chickens. And a combination hot tub/ greenhouse building. Both using passive solar heat principles, with supplemental electric heat, in case.
I have a few questions!!!
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 have taken a straw bale building course with Chris Magwood in Ontario. I built my house in straw bale in Quebec, and I have a prefab straw bale wall company. I highly recommend you get your hands on Chris Magwood's book More Straw Bale Building as well as his manual on straw bale building details. Straw bale is an excellent choice for extreme climates like ours, but it is not wise to expose it to very high humidity for extended periods of time. Also, if you are going to build with straw, make sure to keep it well off the ground (at least two feet) and do not berm it. The chickens will be fine in straw bale, but I am not sure I would go for that if you are going to be putting a hottub in the greenhouse.
Hope this helps! You can always check out my blog where we talk about all aspects of our straw bale build.