Going green is the new normal – from electric cars on the streets to organic produce in our stores, the era of sustainable living is here.
If you’re already living an eco-friendly lifestyle, you can take things a step further by building a straw bale house.
However, this can be challenging due to the difficulty of finding eco-friendly straw bale house builders in the US.
Straw bale houses are energy-efficient and have a low environmental impact. Moreover, they reduce reliance on traditional building materials such as brick and cement, which contribute up to 8% of global carbon emissions.
In the rest of this article, I’ll discuss the top 11 eco-friendly straw bale house builders in the US.
I’ll go through each company’s details and list an example of their work to help you determine if it meets your needs. Let’s get started!
1. Indigo Hammond + Playle Architects, LLP
Indigo Hammond + Playle Architects, LLP is a straw bale house builder in Sunny Davis, California.
The company was founded by Jonathan Hammond and Bruce Playle to focus on low-cost green building. It focuses on environmental responsibility, place-based design solutions, and bioregional solutions to building.
The company has attained a Zero-Net Energy (ZNE) certification and is LEED-accredited. As a result, its straw bale construction methods are energy-efficient and have a minimal environmental impact.
Indigo Hammond + Playle Architects, LLP has a four-step integrated process designed to fit the needs of each customer. Whether you’re on a low budget or need a customized design, the process will incorporate your needs.
It involves the following steps:
- Owner’s needs: Understanding your goals and objectives for the project.
- Design: Developing a design that meets your needs and integrates with the environment.
- Testing: Testing the design to ensure it meets building and energy code requirements.
- Approvals: Obtaining the necessary permits and approvals for construction.
- Build: Constructing the project to the highest standards.
The Visalia Police Substations in Visalia, California, is an example of their straw bale work. The project features twin buildings with thick straw bale and concrete walls for stability.
2. The Salamander Company
The Salamander Company, LLC is one of the top eco-friendly straw bale house builders in the US.
The company has been specializing in straw bale building in Taos, New Mexico, since 1998. However, as time went by, it started incorporating other sustainable construction techniques like pumice crete, adobe, and SIPS panels.
The Salamander Company focuses on sustainable building without compromising aesthetics. Therefore, it constructs houses that are energy-efficient and aesthetically pleasing.
To reduce costs, the company uses locally-made materials from straw bales and adobe bricks. As a result, it helps eliminate energy consumption that would have been incurred during transportation.
Atrium House in Taos is an excellent example of the company’s straw bale project.
3. Hubbell and Hubbell
The company was founded in 1995 in San Diego to offer architecture and planning services to clients looking for sustainable living.
The Hubbell and Hubbell building company has an experienced staff that helps make their projects a reality. From residential home design and remodeling to public facilities like parks and churches, the team at Hubbell and Hubbel has the expertise to get it done.
The company started building straw bale houses in 1997 when this construction method was allowed in San Diego. Its first project was Shimeall Straw Bale Home, a 500-square feet straw bale home.
The company adopted post-and-beam construction due to the concern about the stability of straw bale houses. This technique entails building timber frames and beams then filling the spaces in between with straw bales.
Its long track record in the industry makes Hubbell and Hubbel one of the top eco-friendly straw bale house builders in San Diego.
4. Boise Straw Bale
Founded in 1998 in the Boise Valley, Southern Idaho, Boise Straw Bale is an excellent straw bale home builder in the United States.
Although the company was established in 1998, its founder-President Mark, had been building sustainable homes in Idaho for more than 40 years. Therefore, he leveraged his experience in the industry to create a successful business.
The company focuses on sustainable building that meets the local energy codes and is aesthetically pleasing. From research, sourcing, and design to consulting, contracting, and building, Boise Straw Bale is a complete one-stop shop.
An exceptional feature of this company is that it offers customizable designs and projects. It doesn’t operate on the one-design fits all notion. Therefore, the process incorporates your needs from the start, giving you a customized design.
Finally, it focuses on creating airtight straw bales to help make its buildings energy-efficient. This helps its clients cut their heating and cooling bills.
The company’s five-step process involves site planning, design, foundation, framing, and passive solar.
Among its portfolio is a 1,100-square-foot home on the Boise Bench. Designed with custom elements, the home provides an excellent example of the company’s straw bale building.
5. Gettliffe Architecture
Gettliffe Architecture is a green architecture company in Boulder, Colorado, and Managua, Nicaragua.
The company incorporates green architecture and collaborative designs to create sustainable and efficient buildings.
Gettliffe Architecture has successfully designed and built many straw bale houses over the years, making it one of the top eco-friendly straw bale house builders in the US.
The company believes in creating homes that are not only energy-efficient but also aesthetically pleasing.
Its three-step process involves the following:
- Phase one; schematic design: Creating physical and graphical representations of the project.
- Phase two; construction documents: Creating CAD drawings and acquiring other documents from relevant authorities and consultants.
- Phase three; construction: Finding a contractor, sourcing materials, and building the structure.
The Straw Bale Getaway in Crestone, Colorado, is an excellent example of the company’s straw bale project.
This property was designed to be as energy-efficient and aesthetically appealing as possible.
It incorporates hydronic solar panels and a longitudinal layout allowing natural light to reach the interior space.
6. Straw Bale Home Designs
Founded in Colorado, Straw Bale Home Designs focuses on promoting social and ecological health and well-being through sustainable construction. It emphasizes the use of passive solar, renewable energy systems, and natural materials to create energy-efficient homes.
The company also offers consulting services ranging from site planning and design to construction supervision.
What sets the company apart is its emphasis on an integrative design approach. It designs projects to meet the requirements of the construction process being used. This ensures a seamless process that makes the building enjoyable and efficient.
Straw Bale Home Designs operates under the following principles:
- Designing simple and comfortable houses.
- Harmonizing the project with the external environment.
- Maximizing natural materials.
- Decreasing energy dependence.
- Efficient communication to foster trustful relationships.
Here is an excellent example of the company’s straw bale project.
7. Strawbale Construction L.L.C.
Established in Colorado, Strawbale Construction L.L.C. is an experienced company that has been in business for more than 15 years.
The company stands out in the straw bale construction industry for the following reasons:
- Equipment and commitment: Besides onboarding only experienced personnel, the company uses specialized machinery to create a professional finish within the schedule.
- Hands-on training: The company offers hands-on training for its staff to maintain quality. They also train anyone included in the project, like family and friends.
- Great experience: The company relies on extensive experience to ensure a rich appearance in its plaster. This creates a sophisticated look admired by many.
The company has different products and kit packages to meet different needs.
8. EarthCraft Construction Inc.
EarthCraft Construction Inc. is an award-winning green building company based in Boise, Idaho. With over 40 years in green building planning and designing, the company has a long history of success in the straw bale construction industry.
It focuses on creating sustainable and efficient homes that are both beautiful and environmentally friendly.
The company’s integrated design approach incorporates passive solar, sun exposure, natural ventilation, and other green building technologies to create an energy-efficient environment.
Moreover, the company offers retrofits to reduce new material use and energy consumption.
EarthCraft Construction Inc. built these three strawbale homes in Boise.
9. Daniel Smith and Associates (DSA) Architects
DSA Architects is an award-winning green design company in Berkeley, California. The company is on a mission to build environmentally friendly houses that are long-lasting, beautiful, and healthy.
As a LEED award-winning company, most of its projects have a net-positive energy design to save energy.
The company specializes in straw bale residential and commercial projects. It also offers architectural consultation and designs that meet the needs of clients.
The Sonoma Family Residence & Organic Farm is one of the company’s most impressive straw bale projects. The project has straw bale walls supplemented with different energy and water-efficient measures like solar collectors.
10. Simple Construct
Simple Construct is a San Diego-based eco-friendly house builder.
The company relies on local, carbon-sequestering materials to create naturally healthy homes. Moreover, it integrates effective and energy-efficient designs into its projects.
Simple Construct works closely with clients to ensure homes are tailored to their needs. It specializes in natural plastering techniques like earthen plaster and lime plaster that add a unique charm to each project.
The Wakeham Strawbale Home in Solana Beach is one of the company’s most admired projects. It’s a 1,600 square feet, two-story building.
11. Many Hands Builders
Many Hands Builders is a specialized straw bale construction company established in Oregon. With its vast experience, the company is committed to creating comfortable homes with natural materials.
The company focuses on rainwater harvesting in most projects to increase sustainability. Moreover, its projects are finished with clay and lime plasters to retain the natural appearance.
Many Hands Builders has several straw bale projects in its gallery.
There are some excellent eco-friendly straw bale house builders in the US who specialize in creating beautiful and energy-efficient homes.
However, these builders have different expertise and quality standards. Therefore, when choosing a builder, a good rule of thumb is to look for a firm that has a good track record and plenty of experience building similar projects to your own.
Now that you know the top straw bale home builders in the US, check out this article for the all the pros and cons of straw bale homes.