Chelsea Green Publishing

Bill Steen

Bill Steen is a photographer and collaborative builder who is especially interested in combining building techniques with community-enhancing approaches to design. Athena and Bill are co-founders of the Canelo Project, through which they conduct ecological design and construction workshops in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. They live in Canelo, Arizona. Visit Athena and Bill's Blog, The Canelo Chronicles at www.caneloproject.com.

Bill Steen

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  1. The Straw Bale House

    By Athena Swentzell Steen, Bill Steen and David Bainbridge

    Imagine building a house with superior seismic stability, fire resistance, and thermal insulation, using an annually renewable resource, for half the cost of a comparable conventional home. Welcome to the straw bale house! Whether you build an entire house or something more modest-a home office or studio, a retreat cabin or guest cottage-plastered straw bale construction is an exceptionally durable and inexpensive option. What's more, it's fun, because the technique is easy to learn and easy to do yourself. And the resulting living spaces are unusually quiet and comfortable.The Straw Bale Housedescribes the many benefits of building with straw bales:

    • super insulation, with R-values as high as R-50
    • good indoor air quality and noise reduction
    • a speedy construction process
    • construction costs as low as $10-per-square-foot
    • use of natural and abundant renewable resources
    • a better solution than burning agricultural waste straw, which creates tons of air pollutants



    Paperback $34.95

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