Strawbale Walls Survive California Fires
Recently CASBA, the California Straw Building Association, found some examples of strawbale homes that survived the North Bay wildfires.
Reprinted from the CASBA Newsletter:
Case Study #1: Sonoma
This strawbale home that survived is located near the end of Norrbom Road, north of the City of Sonoma. The residence features strawbale walls coated in Natural Hydraulic Lime plaster, rusted metal roofs and a concrete terrace adjacent the wood frame walls. While the fires burned up to the plastered bale walls, and charred a sliding wood door, the home did not catch fire. The owner stated,
“I think it pretty much survived on its own, with some patrols for hotspots. [It] looks like once power is restored all our systems are go. We are SO LUCKY! Go Strawbale construction!”
Michel Couvreux of TransMineral, purveyors of the Natural Hydraulic Lime used to plaster the walls of the home, noted that the pink hue is the result of the heat of the fires drawing out iron oxides from the mineral impurities in the lime mix, and that they use heat to create some of the colors. He added that the walls suffered no permanent damage and should be serviceable well into the future. Michel provided CASBA with these photos of the home after the fire.
Buena Vista Winery Wins Preservation Awards
The Buena Vista Winery in Sonoma, California has won two preservation awards.
In 2013, the winery was awarded the California Preservation Design Award for “Craftsmanship/Preservation Technology” at the 30th annual California Preservation Awards. The Champagne Cellars had fall into disrepair after the winery closed to the public after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. After reinforcing the stone walls, additional work was done to the cellars that included repointing all joints, repairing wall cracks, removing mortar and re-grouting the outer walls.
In 2016, the Sonoma League for Historic Preservation honored the Buena Vista Winery for the preservation of significant historical structures on its property.
Saint Astier® Natural Hydraulic Lime (NHL) was used for this extensive restoration work.
For more information, please visit:
Natural Hydraulic Lime on Hempcrete
At TransMineral USA, we have recently been following a hempcrete building project from Beate Kirmse and her husband, Bern Galvin. The structure, in Rolling Hills, California, is the first permitted hemp building in California. The walls are formed from hempcrete, which is the result of a mixture of lime and hemp. Since hemp is not allowed to be industrially grown in the United States, it has been near impossible to successfully get a permit to use it in a structure. According to Hemp Technologies, a supplier of hemp hurds, hempcrete has a superior R-value to other green building options. The thickness of hempcrete can be adjusted to meet the thermal requirements of the structure’s climate. And, among numerous other advantages, hempcrete is the perfect substrate for earth and lime plasters, such as natural hydraulic lime.
For the Rolling Hills project, Beate Krimse called our office and discussed the project. We agreed that using NHL 3.5 and EcoMortar® F-2 would be a good combination for the exterior walls. NHL 3.5 was used for the scratch and brown coats, while the EcoMortar® was applied as the exterior finish coat. Find more details on Beate’s post, Breathable Lime Finish.
To follow the couple’s project, please visit their website: http://www.beatekirmse.com
Sonoma County Strawbale House Receives Award from Green Builder® Media
A Sonoma County strawbale home won a 2013 Green Builder® Media Green Home of the Year award. The home was recognized in the Best Exterior Integration category. This LEED Platinum home features Saint Astier® Natural Hydraulic Lime over a strawbale structure. The farmhouse sits on a 32-acre site that includes covered walkways, gardens, and gabled structures. Additionally, there is a living roof and solar electricity.
Bruce Hammond of Hammond & Company
Daniel Smith & Associates Architects
Selecting a Natural Hydraulic Lime
The Last Straw, No. 62 featured an article by Michel Couvreux called “Selecting a Natural Hydraulic Lime: What to Look For”
In the article, Michel discusses the following:
- Norms and Standards
- Misleading Information
- Next Page »