The Straworks Difference
Straworks is a women-owned construction company based in Peterborough, Ontario. Since 2004, we have designed, estimated, and built 15 straw bale buildings from start-to-finish, and done the bale work or the plastering on another 20. We take pride in our work and showcase it at every opportunity, because when built properly straw works.
Straworks is a different construction company because we “do well by doing good.” That is what the founder of Engineers Without Borders, Bernard Amadei, asks of today’s entrepreneurs, and we are proud to fit that description. We build carbon-storing, high-performing buildings of primarily natural and local materials, and we do this by forging and maintaining good relationships. Crew members are inspired and challenged by their work in an ever-changing field. We involve, empower and educate our clients in the process. Meals enjoyed together are testimony of our success and the fuel for it.
Straworks is working on climate change, one building at a time. By choosing more plant-based materials that store carbon dioxide, and fewer materials with high carbon emissions, we are committed to being more part of the solution and less part of the problem. Our goal is to build net-zero embodied carbon, or better.
Straworks respectfully acknowledges that we live and work in the traditional territory of the Michi Saagig Anishnaabeg.
We strive to honour the Treaties our ancestors signed and to attempt to see them from the First Peoples’ perspective. We pay attention to ongoing issues caused by colonizers, colonialism, and the government and are committed to decolonization.
Straworks is grateful to live in this beautiful place and is committed to working respectfully with the land and each other as stewards and good neighbours.
“I’ve had a life-changing experience collaborating with Deirdre and the Straworks crew of Sol and Miles – where goodwill, integrity and master craftership have been the norm. My long-standing dream of a simple, sustainable home in the woods has now taken form with many innovative designs and features for easy, beautiful country living in a wheelchair. Deirdre knows her stuff, stands by the build and loves her work. The happy completion of this project seems like nothing short of a miracle – thank you Straworks!”
“We have been so delighted with the design and construction work of Deirdre and her team. Straworks exceeded our expectations by creating building that is not only beautiful and functional but is an exemplar of sustainable design and carbon sequestration. Deirdre and her crew were patient, creative and hard working. They were responsive to our design needs and helped to guide us through the entire build process – from inception, to design and completion of the build. I highly recommend Straworks for your next sustainable building project.”
Deirdres’ design worked beautifully. All of the products that came to the site were used with nothing wasted.The Straworks crew were extremely knowledgeable and capable and encouraged my “help” with great tolerance and humour.
I am the proud owner of a beautiful strawbale home entirely built by Straworks.”
“Straworks was my choice of builder because of Deirdre’s thorough approach from the start of the project and ease of working with. She designed my passive solar straw bale house and had a relaxed approach to the nuts and bolts of the house layout and what would work best.
The results were a solidly built house, naturally beautiful and built to a match a human scale. The house has become part of the landscape and locals driving by often stop to ask about it. She has designed the passive solar aspect to the extent it contributes roughly half of my winter heating and cool and dry in the summer. The earthen plaster feels right somehow when compared to drywall. The solid walls and large window sills give a feel of solidity and perminance that is not present in modern constructed houses.
Deirdre and the Straworks team were great to work with, professional at all times and exceeded my expectations daily. Great communications and discussions on options and providing information for me to make decisions during the process. A pleasure to deal with and if I ever build again I know who I would choose.”
“We had the pleasure of building our home with Deirdre this past summer (2009) and from the moment she arrived on-site we felt we were in capable hands. Her easy going manner but meticulous planning made our project very enjoyable. Her crew, which comes and goes depending on the task at hand, were as professional and hardworking as she was. Working with Deirdre allowed us to complete our project on time and budget, with no surprises. We couldn’t have been more delighted with the outcome.”
Donna and Andre
“When we first met Deirdre we were in a bit of a state because we were moving and a lot of budget items hadn’t been finalized. Dee’s calm, cool manner put us completely at ease and we felt we could trust her. And she didn’t disappoint. Dee is thorough, dependable and unflappable which is amazing given the unpredictability of natural building. She led us through each stage of the process making sure we understood what was happening and would help us work out creative solutions to some demanding design challenges we had. D also works very efficiently to save the client money and seldom did her costs vary from what she had quoted us. It was very exciting working with someone so skilled at this type of building and seeing the beauty of the craftsmanship come to life!”
“Deirdre McGahern is thorough, hard-working, and knows her stuff. She did an expert job on design and consultation for our straw bale house.”
“She and and the whole Straworks crew did a great job with our plastering; they were fast, tidy, and pleasant to work with. We have been very happy with the results and have been cozy in our house for five years now. We heartily recommend Straworks to those interested in straw bale and green building.”
Emily and Aric, Frontenac County
“Deirdre from Straworks completed her first Straw Bale building in the Centre Hastings Skatepark. The building is a fully functional canteen with two washrooms and a family washroom. Deirdre gave us the encouragement to strive for an environmentally friendly park. What impressed me the most about Deirdre was her work ethic and her pride in her workmanship! Although not a part of her job, she also took a real interest in the young people in the park. Thanks Deirdre for playing a big part in our unique community park.”
Straworks designed and built this house in 2019. Straw bale walls were orginally the plan until Straworks suggested this wall system and board ‘n batten siding as the exterior finish. The house is two stories, and a 30″ overhang at every storey, a long-time requirement for straw bale walls by Straworks, didn’t work aesthetically. The end result is a more conventional yet still high-peforming and natural house. Read more