why build differently?

Because we can do better, for ourselves and the environment.

American Clay plasterWe should build differently than we have for the last 100 years because we now have the knowledge and ability to build more comfortable homes that serve us better while using fewer resources. Typical homes are leaky, drafty, too hot sometimes, and too cold other times. They have lighting issues and inefficient heating systems, poorly placed windows and moisture or mold issues. We can do better.

In addition to building homes that are more enjoyable to live in, we can have less of a negative impact on the environment. Most of the building built in the last 50 years are extremely wasteful. They require vast inputs of raw materials (mined and shipped all over the world) and large amounts of energy and water to function.

According to the US Green Building Council, buildings in the United States account for:
•    39% of all energy use
•    72% of electricity consumption
•    30% of waste output
•    40% of all raw materials use

Our way of building for the last century depended on unlimited oil: being able to move anything anywhere, heat and cool anything in any climate, and generally use as much stuff as we wanted where ever we wanted.  Regardless of whether this way of building was right or wrong, it is coming to an end because we no longer have the cheap, unlimited oil necessary. So it makes sense to focus on building super efficient buildings that maintain or improve our quality of life while consuming fewer resources, like straw bale buildings.