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Oakland's only straw-bale home hits market

The 2-foot thick walls of the Roble Road house soak up sunlight during the day and radiate heat at night. They provide at least 3 times the insulation value of a typical Bay Area home. Photo: DSA Architects / SF

If your climate gets a lot of rain, you want to lift your bales 18" to 24" above the final ground height to prevent splashing rainwater from consistently wetting the same spot on your strawbale wall. You also want to create a deep roof overhang that extends away from the house, so that any rainwater falls well away from the house. I typically use a 2-foot eave.

Completed straw bail retrofit of house in Switzerland - Sanierung Stroh Haus Jacomet Surrein GR - original home was encapsulated in a straw bail shell (shown here are wooden slots affixed to the exterior of the original structure, into which straw bails will be placed) also a straw bail extension was built onto it. By Atelier Werner Schmidt