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House #
House Style
Size Ft2
Year Built
General Contractor
Sub-contractors (significant) & Type
Larry Halford Larry Halford Ray Roberts—Stucco
Primary E-Design Factors
Significant E-Products Used
Passive solar
Insulated shades
Recycled doors
Radiant Heating—heated slab is insulated from stem wall
4-layer insulated drapes for windows
Comfortable and energy efficient
The owner is a well known builder in the Methow Valley, and has had a long interest in energy conservation. To create a less expensive house, both in terms of construction and continuing costs, he built an energy efficient house with a simple shape, for three people. As a builder, and home owner, he believes that a house should reflect the owners personalties, desires, and concerns. His home beautifully reflects this philosophy with well crafted and unique details inside, adding life to the simple form of the house. See excerpt from Halford Construction below *.

The house is strawbale (infill), with the with the cut ends of the bales placed in the vertical axis to increase their insulating qualities. Larry recommends Lenny Judd of Okanogan as a supplier/broker of strawbales; he had the strawbales delivered after the framing and roof where in place to prevent them form getting wet. He used x bracing to add strength to the bales. 2x4 wood was placed in the bales to hang shelves, etc. inside the house. The house has 7'6" ceilings for more efficient heating (Larry says that for every 6" increase in ceiling height over 7'6", there is a 10% decrease in heating efficiency). 2 x 12" scissor trusses, with a heel, were used for the roof which has fiberglass insulation. The foundation is slab on grade; the floor slab is insulated from the stem wall by four inches of foam sheeting to minimizes the heat loss of the radiant heating system. The windows have custom made insulating shades which increases the R-value from R-2, to approximately R-10; the multi-layer material provides radiant and convective insulation and is/was available from Pacific Fabrics (Seattle area). There are recycled doors from an old hotel, (Hippo Hardware of Portland).

This house has been designed with Methow winters in mind. There are no valleys on the roof (no place for ice dams). The chimney and vents are on the ridgeline. The walkways are placed where snow does not fall. Thus far, this strategy has worked well. The walls have three coats of stucco and the house is very stable and quiet. Larry Halford considered future energy scarcity and prices when designing this energy efficient home. Indeed, this house will become more valuable with time.

** This house was built in 2001 with the builders own labor. The simplicity of the design combined with his hard work kept the price down.

A resource that Larry recommends to answer questions inspectors or permitting officials may have about strawbale houses is: "The Building Officials Guide to Strawbale Construction", edited by Kelly Lerner, and Pamela Wadsworth- Goode, CASBA (California Strawbale Assoc.), 209-785-7077, Email:
Financing can be a problem if you plan to use alternative building methods. It may be worth checking with Wheatland Bank of Spokane
. Also, consider using private financing for the construction, and then securing a conventional mortgage after the house is built.

* BUILDERS ADVICE: " I want to design and build a home with you that is personal, environmentally responsible, practical, elegantly simple, and warm in character....... One of the single most important factors in the creation of a new home is to make that home personal, to make it really suit the people who will be living in it. The primary reason most houses do not feel like homes is that they are painfully generic. They are designed so blandly "for anyone" that they are really for no one. The more deeply the home owner is involved in design decisions and, where appropriate, the actual work of building their home, the more personal it will feel and the better suited to them it will be. A home certainly need not make an effort to be weird or garish or strange to suceed in feeling personal." Halford Construction (509) 996-9296, cell (509) 429-7150