Join us to tour 2 straw bale houses in the process of being built at Terra Corazon Farm in Valley Center as part of the SD-GBC's Annual Green Homes Tour.
The tour is Sunday, October 21, 2018 from 10 am – 4 pm at locations all over the county. More info and registration can be found here.
*** Update: There are now 3 projects that Simple Construct worked on featured on the Tour. More info here ***
Come and learn about natural clay plasters in a fun, supportive environment while helping to plaster a tiny strawbale building. During this one-day workshop, we will mix and install the base coat of clay plaster – also know as earth plaster – to the strawbale and straw-clay walls of an adorable 120 square foot building. The class will be a mix of talking about building and hands-on doing. This is a rare opportunity to participate in a real build where your safety and education are the primary focus.
No previous experience with construction is required. All tools will be provided for your use during the class. Taught by Rebecca Tasker and Mike Long, general contractors and co-owners of Simple Construct Naturally Healthy Homes.
These workshops fill up quickly, so register soon. We will provide water and light snacks, you will be responsible for bringing your own lunch. Address will be provided with registration.
Here’s what former workshop attendees said about our workshops:
“Perfect amount of students. Easy to understand. Excellent presentation. Very knowledgeable instructors. Would highly recommend the workshops.” – A.C.
“It was a great experience– you guys have so much knowledge and passion for what you do and I appreciated the opportunity to learn from you.” – M.B.
“I loved the size of the workshops and how they were presented. Very easy to grasp the principles as they were presented. There was always time for questions and they were all answered honestly I feel. I felt that a great deal of consideration was given in the planning of the classes and there is nothing I can think of that I would want different. The information was extremely well presented. Both contractors were always very willing to answer questions and were very forthcoming with information. Often when attending this sort of thing there is a feeling coming from the people giving the class that they are better than those of us who do not know enough yet. I never once got the feeling like that from the contractors at this class. They were always very much interested in our needs and perception of the material.” – K.W.
A rare opportunity to tour a straw bale house under construction! Come talk with the builders and check out how the straw bales go together to form the walls in this 1600 sq ft, two-story straw bale home designed by Hubbell & Hubbell Architects. This is the only time this job site will be open to the public until the project is completed, so don’t miss it!
Want to get hands-on and learn a lot about straw bale building in a short time from knowledgable teachers? Check out this 3 day straw bale building workshop presented by the CA Straw Building Association in Santa Cruz, CA in July. You’ll get to work on a real straw bale home alongside professionals like Jim Reiland of Many Hands Builders, David Arkin of Arkin-Tilt Architects, Michele Landegger of Boa Constructor, and us, Mike Long & Rebecca Tasker of Simple Construct, as well as other CASBA members. With a high teacher-to-student ratio and experienced administrators, this should be a great workshop!
The California Straw Building Association invites you to attend our annual conference. This year’s conference celebrates CASBA’s 20th anniversary and the amazing progress we’ve made bringing straw bale and other forms of natural, low-carbon building to life. Join this diverse range of building experts gathering to share, discuss, and collaborate. There will be presentations, tours, panel discussion, and hands-on demonstrations, all set against the beautiful backdrop of spring wildflowers in the Carrizo Plain.
Simple Construct will be there presenting “Buddhists, Bales, and Building Science;” participating in a panel discussion on Plaster, Moisture, and Durability; and showing our recent work. We hope to see you there!
Four curved straw bale buildings wrap around a central courtyard. A covered breezeway made of reclaimed timber connects them. With graceful super-insulated
straw bale walls and passive solar orientation, these buildings will help the Sisters live comfortably in-tune with nature. Natural ventilation, efficient heating and cooling systems, greywater and rainwater systems, and a large PV array give these buildings a lighter footprint.
We are proud to have been part of this remarkable project and invite you to tour the site as part of the USGBC’s annual Green Homes Tour. With 9 sites on this year’s Tour, there is sure to be something of interest to everyone. See the brochure for more info
This may be your only chance to tour these buildings at Deer Park. Three of them will be the private residences for the nuns and one will be Thich Nhat Hanh’s home when he visits, so once they are completed, they will not be open to the public. Please join us on Sunday Oct 4 for a chance to tour of these lovely buildings.
We hope to see you there!
Rebecca & Mike, Simple Construct
Thanks to everyone who came out for the Tour! 160+ people at 12 straw bale houses!
Tour de Bale – straw bale home tour in San Diego
Sunday, May 31, 2015, noon-4pm at locations all over San Diego County
Experience for yourself some of the beautiful, efficient, & natural straw bale buildings in San Diego County!
Straw bale homes are unique, energy-efficient, and healthier for people and for the environment. They are more fire-proof than conventional houses and perform well in earthquakes. San Diego County is home to more than 56 permitted straw bale buildings in a variety of sizes and styles. On Sunday May 31st, join the self-guided Tour de Bale and visit straw bale homes in locations near you including:
- San Diego
- Borrego Springs
Knowledgable homeowners, owner-builders, builders, designers, architects, and CASBA volunteers will be on hand to answer your questions about this wonderful way to build.
Registration is $10 per individual, couple, or family. This fee covers the cost associated with the tour and any profit will go to the the California Straw Building Association.
THE WORKDAYS ARE NOW FULL, NO MORE REGISTRATIONS CAN BE ACCEPTED.
The dates for the workdays have been released and the few remaining spots will fill up fast.
There will be 3 workdays where you can to volunteer to help stack bales and apply clay plasters, coming up this winter at the Deer Park Monastery in Escondido. The workdays will be run by the Monastery and may fill up quickly.
For info on future events like these, join our email list (click the envelope button at the bottom of the page).
Thanks to everyone who visited our straw bale home during the San Diego US Green Building Council’s annual Green Home Tour.
Simple Construct was honored to be included in the San Diego USGBC’s popular annual Green Homes Tour on Nov 9, 2014. Our most recently completed straw bale home, the Schaffroth Residence in El Cajon, was included as one of the nine green sites on the Tour.
1. Super-insulated walls (R-30) made of natural materials (straw bales) which is a form of up-cycling: using an agricultural by-product of local food production by using straw bales to replace conventional insulation and wall board
2. Natural clay plasters which moderate indoor humidity and are locally produced with minimal embodied energy and zero VOCs
3. Photo Voltaic system
4. Efficient hybrid electric heat pump water heater
5. Structural concrete slab stained and used as finish flooring
6. Low VOC cabinetry made with sustainably sourced plywood rather than chipboard
7. Grading and drains divert rainwater to mature trees rather than to the storm drains
8. The disturbed area of the building site planted with native, water wise plants
9. Zero VOC paints and finishes used throughout interior to maintain indoor air quality
10. A simple laundry-to-landscape greywater system
This modest 3 bedroom, 2 bath straw bale home completed in 2014 is 1800 sq ft (interior) and features super-insulated straw bale walls, natural clay plasters, stained concrete floors, photovoltaics, hybrid heat pump water heater, solar tubes for daylighting, efficient lighting, and an age-in-place layout. Straw bale building is the most resource-efficient way to build a super-insulated home and results in superior indoor air quality and sound quality. Clay plasters use significantly less energy resources than conventional plasters and are VOC free and completely nontoxic.
What makes this project exceptional is the priority placed on using natural, non-toxic and low-embodied-energy materials wherever possible. With good solar orientation, exceptional insulation and good air sealing details, this home performs well passively. Add to that a photo voltaic system and efficient heating and appliances, and the result is a healthy, efficient home that uses very little energy to keep its owners comfortable. By using low and zero VOC products and finishes, fewer toxins were built into the building, contributing to better indoor air quality. This home’s relatively simple design and modest furnishing are also unusual for new construction and demonstrate the owners’ commitment to living lightly on the planet.
An integrated design/build approach was used involving a collaborative dialogue between the owners and the builders. Simple Construct, a design/build company specializing in straw bale building, worked with general contractor Paul Turner to fine-tune the building for natural materials and optimum energy efficiency. Simple Construct was a prime contractor (providing the installation of the straw bales, lath, and clay plasters, as well as finishing the stained concrete floors) and held an educational “Open House in Process” where guests could view the bale walls in the process of being stacked to see how the parts all go together in this unique, cutting edge building system.