You can't make stuff like this up: A guy named Hay is building a house of straw.
The Rapid City Journal picks up a story from the Hot Springs Star on James Hay's efforts to rebuild his home and shop with straw bales. His old place burned down; his new straw-bale building will be nearly fireproof... really! Think about it: you stack and pack those bales, seal 'em up with stucco, and air can't get in to fuel any combustion.
Air can't get in... that also means the house is darn near winter-proof, with insulation R-factor that Hay estimates to be 40 to 55. (If you live in 2x6 walls, you might get R-20.)
Hay digs the green value of straw-bale construction (as do some Republicans!). Straw is a cheap, renewable local product. Straw bale construction is also a great do-it-yourself project: Hay is building his 1200-square-foot shop/garage as practice for his planned 3000-square-foot house. Self-reliance—Republicans really ought to like that!
Prairie Roots and I (and maybe even Flying Tomato) are pleased to see others recognizing the value of straw bale construction. A lot of folks talk about making money by turning straw into cellulosic ethanol someday when the science makes it cost-effective. I would suggest we could turn our South Dakota straw to gold right now, in straw bale construction! Just think how many houses we could build right here in Lake County from our very own straw instead of imported lumber. Imagine if the thousands you give to big lumber companies for building a house in Lake County could instead go straight into the pockets of local farmers. Turn those dollars over!
Hey, maybe Randy Schaefer and the LAIC should look into making the next Madison TIF house out of straw bales!
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