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Sep. 16th, 2009

Straw Close-up

Straw Bale Building Class

I will be teaching at BCC (Broome Community College) in Binghamton NY.  a one night class on straw bale building. 

The class is scheduled for Tuesday, 22 September 2009 at 6:30 - 9:30 pm. 

I will be covering the various methods of bale building showing case study examples and discussing techniques for construction.

Contact BCC continuing education for more information.

Aug. 26th, 2009

Straw Close-up

Start Date for new Straw Bale Home

September 1st we will begin construction on a low cost straw bale home in Binghamton NY.

The house will be a small structural straw home - slab on grade, single story - three bedrooms and one bath.  It sits in an urban area on a vacant lot and it is a part of the cities revitalization plan.  More details as we progress.

Aug. 24th, 2009

Straw Close-up

Straw Home Published in Modern Steel Construction

The Hakata house designed by Secret Base Design was published in the most recent issue of Modern Steel Construction magazine (p.58-59).  The house features a steel frame with infill straw bales as well as other eco friendly features. 

Interior view of Hakata house - designed by Principal Architect Laura Lee Intscher of Secret Base Design.

Mar. 10th, 2009

Straw Close-up

Eco Friendly construction on the News

Some great promotion for straw bale and eco friendly construction - I was on the TV news last night to promote my upcoming class.

Link to the video.

Straw Bale & Eco Friendly Construction - 2 April, 6:30-9:30 at BCC ( Broome Community College - Continuing Education - Binghamton NY.  Call 607-778-5012 to pre-register or see the web-site). 

Also I will be a speaker at the Binghamton Sustainablilty Conference - 18 April 2009 and at the Earth Fest in Sydney, NY.  2 May 2009.

Oct. 10th, 2008

Straw Close-up

Tour a straw bale home

Tour a straw bale home.

I am hosting a tour 14th Oct. Tuesday 10:15 to 11:15 in Vestal, NY.
This is the project to be viewed - Hakata House.

If you are interested in attending - please contact or email (from the website) at Secret Base Design.

The tour will discuss the energy benefits of straw construction - passive solar, masonry furnace, envelope design, air infiltration, humidity control, ground source heat pump, sustainable building materials and practices.

Aug. 4th, 2008

Daikon Radish

Organic Gardening

After reading "In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto" by Michael Pollan I really wanted to have my own garden.  It was certainly in my mind for a while - but after this book, it became an obsession really.

Here is the staring point for the garden - and the first harvest: radishes.
I planted many interesting things and I have been harvesting bit by bit.  I have yet to see the big payoff - things we can consume every day as our main food.  Soon the tomatoes will be ready in plenty.  Tomatoes are a staple in our diet so this will be a payoff.  Everything else has been tended and growing - but I am so impatient for thing to mature.
The July harvest included greens, oregano & more radishes (these are a Japanese type).  We did get some yellow pear tomatoes and now the celery is coming as well.  Celery fresh grown tastes amazing - it says "I am Celery!!!" loud and clear.  All the other things also taste great fresh - but the celery is actually a big surprise.  It also has been doing a great job of choking out weeds all on its own - yea for celery, it will certainly be planted next year as well. 

Part of the experiment is trying to see what works and what doesn't - they failures so far: the large daikon radish went straight to seed without producing - they were just planted too late.  The broccoli and brussels sprouts were bug favorites and decimated - nothing else really had any bug issues.  I have high hopes for the tomatoes, peppers, onions, eggplant & carrots... we shall see what happens.  I do not have experience in canning or freezing - if anyone has tips or references - that would be great.

Also I was a guest blogger on the local NPR radio station regarding my garden experiments.  You can check it out & there are lots of other interesting posts about  being "green".

Apr. 21st, 2008

Straw Close-up

Thinking Green Radio Show

For earth day tomorrow I will be participating in a radio call in show called "Thinking Green" with ckocher.  It is live on WSKG at 1 PM (with a rebroadcast at 7 PM and I think they will also have it on-line).  

You can link to the show information here.

On Saturday I will be giving a presentation at Earth Fest at Roberson Museum  (I think my talk will be between 10 and 11 AM).  This free event will be fun and informative - it opens at 10 AM and ends at 5 PM.  I will have a booth - come and check it out... they are giving free seedling trees, cloth shopping bags & fluorescent light bulbs.  My talk and both will feature straw bale construction and green building information.

You can link to the Earth Fest event here.

For more information about my work - you can visit my web-site.

Apr. 12th, 2008

Straw Close-up

Eco Hero - TV News Feature

More press for green building.  My news interview and images of my straw bale home on Ch.34 Binghamton.

Here is the Video.
The text of the story.

I am really pleased they are running the series - last week was about bio-diesel.  All leading up to Earth Fest on Saturday the 26th of April (10AM to 5PM) - Roberson Museum - Secret Base Design is one of the sponsors and I will be giving a talk between 10 and 11 about building with straw and other green materials and techniques.

Mar. 5th, 2008

Straw Close-up

Straw Building

Straw bale building is becoming a more recognized building technique.  The April 2008 issue of Dwell magazine has a nice article "Straw Tech" (p.94) and has some information on straw bale as well (p.98).  One of my projects that is a modern style straw bale home was published in this section.  I am really pleased to see more press with green design - and actually Dwell has had several good issues on this topic this year. 

The house that is published is the Hakata House - you can see this project on my web-site.  I also have a good section on the how to of straw construction.

Feb. 12th, 2008

Athena Owl

Revised web site

I have finally revised my web site - Yea.

It has a pretty good section on green materials as well as examples of how to build both structural straw and post and beam straw bale structures.  (look under the "Ecology" sections).  I hope it is helpful, if anyone has comments - I would love to hear them.  I really hope to provide good information on green building and also building with straw bales.


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