From General

Like the ‘Blogroll’ category in the Links section, the ‘Uncategorized’ category of blog posts can be renamed but not deleted. If it is renamed be sure to update the category slug as well.

Intro to Carpentry Class for Women – sold out!

This class sold out in less than 24 hours so it seems like there is enough interest to do another one soon. If you would like to be notified, make sure to join our mailing list (at bottom of this page). Thanks!

Learn how to safely and effectively use basic hand and power tools in a fun, supportive environment while building a small workbench to take home with you.

No previous experience with carpentry or fractions required. All tools will be provided for your use during the class. The cost of the ticket includes the cost of the materials for your workbench. Taught by Rebecca Tasker, a general contractor and co-owner of Simple Construct Naturally Healthy Homes. Note: closed-toed, sturdy shoes are required. Class size is limited to 5 students so register soon! Sorry, this class is full.

Sale 25% off clay plaster for your home now through Feb 28th

Clay plaster is gorgeous, durable, non-toxic, and environmentally friendly. It is anti-static, easily repaired, and even helps moderate indoor humidity. It can be made in a wide range of colors and textures and can be installed right over most painted or new drywall in conventional homes. Check out what our clients and colleagues have to say.

We’ve spent the last few months formulating a new recipe for our interior finish clay plaster and training talented new clay plaster artisans and now we’re geared up to rock some beautiful clay plaster for you! To get you excited too, we’re offering our first-ever sale:

25% off materials and installation of interior finish clay plaster!

Contact us today to explore beautiful, healthy clay plaster for your home. More info about clay plaster…


Details: Receive 25% off of the total cost of installing a maximum of 800 square feet interior finish clay plaster, excluding custom color samples and pigment charges. Although clay plaster can be installed over many surfaces, not every situation is appropriate for clay plaster and Simple Construct reserves the right to decline any project. Sale ends midnight (PST) February 28th, 2017.


New legislation about “guest houses” in San Diego!

Whether you call them guest houses, granny flats, or second dwelling units, there’s some exciting news about them! New legislation passed in CA lifts some of the restrictions around these units, which are now all called Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s).

Two of the most exciting features of the new rules, which went into effect on Jan 1st, are that ADU’s are now allowed to be as big as 50% of the square footage of the main house instead of 30% and, if the project is located close to public transportation, the requirement to provide extra onsite parking has been waived. The new rules also make permitting an ADU faster and less expensive. And a permitted ADU can legally be rented out, generating steady income for the owner.

This could be huge for San Diego’s affordable housing crisis! Now combine that with natural, non-toxic, low-carbon building and we can do something real to address our growing population in a more sustainable way.

If you would like to explore the possibility of building a high-performance, non-toxic ADU on your property, we’d be happy to help you evaluate your options.

Straw Bale Tiny Accessory Building – coming in 2017!

Here’s a fun animation of a 120 square foot tiny hybrid straw bale and straw-clay building that we’ve designed. We’re planning to build this one in northern San Diego County in 2017 and will have a number of workshops during the construction. We’re still working out the details but, if you are interested and would like to know more, make sure you are on our email list (scroll to the bottom of this page)!

Visit us on the San Diego Green Homes Tour Sat 11/12/16, 10am-3pm

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Green Homes Tour Saturday, Nov 12, 2016, from 10-3pm

Join us in celebrating 10 homes with a wide range of green features as part of the San Diego Green Building Council’s Annual Green Homes Tour.

Our most recent project, the Fallgren Naturally Healthy Home, will be open to the public and we (Mike & Rebecca) will be there to answer questions and show you around this fantastic super-green home.

The full brochure for the tour can be found here as well as a link to register.

Hope to see you there!

The straw bale buildings at Deer Park Monastery nominated for an Orchid Award

Sisters at Deer Park Monastery enjoying a cup of teaThe straw bale buildings we helped build for the Deer Park Buddhist Monastery in Escondido were nominated for an Orchid award in the 2016 “Orchids & Onions” by the San Diego Architecture Foundation.

 

 

 

“Deer Park Monastery- Nun’s Residence

The form—based on a traditional Spanish Hacienda embracing a central courtyard with plantings—encourages togetherness and provides opportunities for interaction between residents.  Covered walkways extend the living space outdoors, taking advantage of our temperate climate and integrating awareness of the natural world into activities like walking to the shower.  All rooms are accessed through the central courtyard, helping eliminate the expense and space requirements of interior hallways.

The detached buildings help enclose the courtyard, providing a sense of protection and defining the core of the residences.  This arrangement allows Deer Park Monastery to build within the existing pad and provide fire department access without building a large road around the buildings. This design also allows for phased construction that can help meet the project’s current budget, while being mindful of possible future expansion as funds allow.

Thick strawbale walls and operable windows provide thermal comfort for the buildings atop the hill which receive plentiful daylight and breezes. A beautiful garden setting incorporating existing cypress trees and views to the rest of the monastery will make this new residence a comfortable place to visit and live.

Clay Plaster Interior Detail Deer Park Monastery

NATURE-CENTERED DESIGN FEATURES

  1. Sensitive siting in the area of existing buildings and roads minimizes the impact on the natural surroundings.
  2. Passive solar design lets the sun help heat the space and uses shade to stay cool. This helps reduce the need for mechanical systems and electricity.
  3. The narrow footprint along with operable windows optimizes daylighting and natural ventilation.
  4. Indoor / outdoor living is encouraged by covered walk-ways and central courtyard.
  5. Super-insulated strawbale walls repurpose agricultural waste as a building material and provide comfortable, quiet interiors.
  6. Plastered bale walls provide thermal mass, passively maintaining interior temperature
  7. A metal roof with recycled steel content limits solar heat gain through its reflective finish.
  8. High-efficiency glazing reduces heat gain
  9. Fire-resistive materials provide durability along with timeless beauty
  10. Rainwater catchment and greywater re-use supplies landscape irrigation.”Deer Park Monastery New Nunnery Building A

Visit San Diego’s Greenest Home!

San Diego's Greenest Home, straw bale home on USGBC's Green Homes Tour
The Fallgren Naturally Healthy Home, a 1600 sq ft straw bale home designed and built by Simple Construct, will be featured on the USGBC’s upcoming Green Homes Tour

Join us at San Diego’s Greenest Home on Saturday, November 12 from 10 am – 3 pm as part of the San Diego Green Building Council’s annual Green Homes Tour.

This is the 4th year we’ve shown a home in this unique tour that has sites all over San Diego County and it’s a great way to get to see a wide variety of green home options all in one day.

Our site, the Fallgren Naturally Healthy Home, is a 2 bedroom, 1 bath, 1600 sq ft straw bale home completed in 2016. With superinsulated straw bale walls, passive solar orientation, modest photovoltaic array, and efficient systems, this home is on track to be certified Net Zero Energy Building by the Living Building Challenge.

With its Old World feel and high-performance, it’s an inspiring mix of the best of both worlds. Passively warm in winter and cool in summer, this home stays comfortable even when the power goes out. Featuring natural materials such as straw bales, clay plaster, adobe block, reclaimed wood and non-toxic finishes, we believe it may just be San Diego’s Greenest Home! Why don’t you visit and judge for yourself?

Because of the remote nature of this site, we will be organizing carpools and may provide a van shuttle if there is enough interest. Check back here for more info.

Register for the tour here: http://usgbc-sd.org/event-2296833

Straw Bale Open House-in-Process, 9/11/16

openhousebalerainbowIMG_4693v2Sunday, September 11th, noon-3pm, The Wakeham Project, Solana Beach, CA

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!

 

 

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Check out the campaign to get Living Building Challenge certification

Update: WOW! The homeowners of this project have been so inspired by the response to this campaign that they have decided to match any donation DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR in this last week of fundraising, up to $2,000! That means that the effect of any donation you make between now and Aug 28 will be doubled. I feel like a used car salesman yelling at you from your TV, but this is a REALLY BIG DEAL for this campaign. If we can raise just $1,250 more, all of the out-of-pocket costs of this certification will be covered and we will happily donate our time to build the website, and do the research & documentation knowing that our community believes in what we are doing. Thanks for your support!

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Are you interested in helping to promote natural materials, straw bale building, energy efficiency, and simple design? Then check out our fundraising campaign to get our current straw bale, adobe, and straw-clay project certified through the Living Building Challenge! LBC is a rigorous and holistic metric that only a handful of buildings in the world have met. Let’s inspire more people to build this way by showing that simple and natural can be extraordinary!

Please share this link and help us get the word out: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/straw-bale-home-seeks-highest-certifications/x/5658336#/

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Our sincere thanks to our funders so far:

Luke Morton, Darcey Donovan, Allen Olston, Jim Furness of Furness Construction Inc., Sarah Matthews, Toni Tasker, David Weir, Deanna Moore, Pete Tasker, Yoshi Makino, Lesley Christiana, Ed Earl of Priority 1 Projects, Michael Hornsby, Richard Fleiss, Jay Flynn, Mary Speare, Bob & Marty Kvaal, Bob Theis, Kerstin Sjoquist, Adam Pascu of 73 Degrees Realty, Teri Nirr, Tom Wanderer, Frank Golbeck, Martin Hammer, Jon Williams, Brook Sarson, Emily Reynolds, Bert Reuss, Donald McSwain, Ian Harrison, the California Straw Building Association, Drew Hubbell, Stevan de la Rosa, Bea Alvarez, Stephen McCabe, and Dadla Ponizil.

Our straw bale project seeks LBC Net Zero!

We are excited to announce that our current straw bale project, the Fallgren Naturally Healthy Home, is now registered with the Living Building Challenge seeking Net Zero Energy Building certification, which is a rigorous standard that will verify that the project used the land appropriately, considered beauty, and that this home is so energy efficient that it makes as much energy as it uses.

If you are not familiar with the Living Building Challenge, it is a holistic program that evaluates beauty, toxicity, equity, health, as well as energy and water efficiency. Currently, there are only 11 fully certified buildings in the world!
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