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Straw Bale House Building

The Solar Living Institute in Hopland will offer a weekend workshop on “How to Build A Straw Bale House” on June 7 and 8 from 9 am to 5 pm. This popular course will give participants both the knowledge and practice they need to tackle their own straw bale construction project. Instructor Allen Martin, a leading expert in straw bale construction and a building inspector, will teach the latest innovations in this constantly evolving building technique. Course topics include:

* Design for straw bale homes

* Basic straw bale construction methods

* Foundation systems

* Framing for windows and doors

* Roofing materials and roof-bearing assemblies

* Interior details

* Building to code

Participants will help build a small load-bearing structure, including foundation and roofing. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to mix and apply various plasters. Allen Martin has over 20 years experience in residental and commerical building, ten of those in strawbale and greenbuilding. Allen is a certified green building professional and currently works for Sonoma County as a building inspector. Cost for the workshop is $250. Students can register by going to and clicking on “Upcoming Courses,” or by calling 472-2468. The Solar Living Center, home to the Solar Living Institute and the Real Goods Store, is a world-famous demonstration site for renewable energy, green building, alternative fuels, permaculture, and sustainable living technologies. The 12-acre Solar Living Center is located at 13771 S. Hwy 101 at the south end of Hopland, and can be reached at 472-2450 or online at — Roberta Werdinger Writer, Publicist, Editor

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