Joanne Calkin's Straw Bale Home - Paja Construction

Joanne Calkin’s Straw Bale Home

Finished Retrofit and Expansion | see photos of construction below

  • Joanne Calkins Straw Bale Home I-1920×700
  • Joanne Calkins Straw Bale Home North Face II-1920×700
  • Joanne Calkins Straw Bale Home North Face-1920×700
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  • straw bale retrofit and expansion 12
  • Joanne Calkins Straw Bale Home Bedroom Wall American Clay-1920×700
  • Joanne Calkins Straw Bale Home Bedroom Walls American Clay II-1920×700
  • Joanne Calkins Straw Bale Home Gate Detail-1920×700
  • Joanne Calkins Straw Bale Home Sunroom Exterior-1920×700
  • Joanne Calkins Straw Bale Home Interior Sunroom-1920×700
  • Joanne Calkins Straw Bale Home Sunroom II-1920×700
  • Joanne Calkins Straw Bale Home Wall Detail-1920×700
  • Joanne Calkins Straw Bale Home Window II-1920×700
  • Joanne Calkins Straw Bale Home Window-1920×700
  • Joanne Calkins Straw Bale Home Porch-1920×700
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Background on Joanne’s Straw Bale Home

Joanne Calkins approached Paja Construction wanting to improve her existing house in Albuquerque. Heating and cooling costs were exorbitant, windows were single paned and/or in undesirable locations and she wanted to create a second story on a 1000 sq foot, 70 year old, stick frame house. She wanted the second story for a view of the mountains and an additional bedroom.

“We decided the most economical way to meet her needs was to ‘retrofit’ the existing house with straw bales, and add a second story straw bale structure. “

Construction started in September of 2011 and completed four months later

 Retrofit:

An insulated concrete footing was poured around the perimeter of her existing house. Straw bales were then stacked against her house, attached to the existing frame all the existing windows were removed and either brought to the outside of the new straw bale wall,, or replaced.

Before Retrofit

Expansion:

For the second floor addition, (800 sq ft) we chose to create our own post and beam structure rather than investigating the 70 year old footing and frame work to verify whether the old structure could support a second floor.  As part of that process, footers were dug on the inside of the house and columns were constructed leading up through the existing roof.

Step by Step 

Conclusion

“Monthly heating and cooling bills have plummeted to a tiny fraction of her former costs and there no electricity bills.”

 

Miss Calkins is also on schedule to regain the entire cost of the solar installation within 6 years, upon which time she will start accruing a profit for the electricty her house generates and sells to Albuquerque’s PNM system.

Press

The Calkins’s Straw Bale Retrofit and Expansion has

been featured in numerous articles and won several awards