Ed Massery; Massery Photography, Inc.; Sota Construction; studio d'ARC Architects

Office building insulated with straw bales

Just a few years back Sota Construction Services http://www.sotaconstruction.com/ wanted to build a "green" office building for its head quarters.  The architects from Studio d'Arc http://www.sdapgh.com/ were brought in to make it happen.  A steel frame was constructed, concrete floors were poured, then came the walls. The walls were constructed of a wood frame and infilled with 18" thick straw bales.  Not just any straw, is was locally sourced wheat straw which provided a thermal insulating value of R48. Next a vapor barrier was applied, then wire mesh was laid over top to hold in place the 2" of Earth Plaster, and finished with a lime plaster to protect the earth clay from deteriorating.  The building comes very close to having a net zero carbon footprint. The project uses geo thermal wells for heating and a dehumidification system to cool the building in summer. Western Pa, West Virginia, and eastern Ohio are well know for clays used in the ceramic...

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