DESIGN-ESTIMATE-BUILD

 One-of-a-Kind Straw Bale Buildings

At its core, Straworks inc. is a design-build company that specializes in designing, estimating, and building one-of-a-kind straw bale and other types of high-performing buildings on time and on budget.

Deirdre is Straworks in-house licensed (BCIN) designer who heads up the design-estimate-build process. Drawing on 18 years of experience working on over 35 projects, her code-compliant plans support permit applications and detail the build through to a smooth and successful finish.

Natural & non-Toxic

Our buildings are primarily plant-based: straw, wood, cellulose insulation, and hemp. Made by nature, these materials do not off-gas any harmful chemicals and support our end goal: healthy indoor air. We carry this through the finishing stage and use only tried-and-true natural plasters, paints, varnish, and sealers that contain no harmful off-gassing ingredients.

Local

The shorter the supply chain, the better. Our buildings are made primarily of straw, clay, sand, and wood, grown or mined in Ontario.

Beauty

Beautiful buildings are sustainable buildings. Year after year, they are occupied, loved, maintained, renovated, passed down, or sold quickly. Unsightly buildings sit on the market or, worse, fall into disrepair. In the name of resource conservation, we pursue the sweet spot where budget, ease of construction, function, and beauty meet. To build beautiful places that nourish and inspire connection.

Masses of golden straw, piles of cellulose insulation, batts of hemp, undulating clay-lime plaster, round and deep window surrounds, pine window stools, and earthen floors that are warm to the touch, we craft beauty from the inside out.

 

Low Embodied Energy

Beauty is high, embodied energy is low when natural materials are chosen. Embodied energy is a measure of how much energy goes into harvesting and manufacturing a material. It’s imperative to consider when choosing which type of super insulation with reducing green house gas emissions in mind. Some conventional insulations, such as Extruded Polystyrene (Styrofoam) or Fiberglass, have an extremely high embodied energy and can consume more energy in their manufacturing than they can save as insulation over the course of many years. We can do better than that. Straw and cellulose (recycled newspaper) have a low embodied energy and are thus highly effective at lowering carbon emissions when used as super insulation.

Super Insulation & Climate Change

“It is estimated that at present, buildings contribute as much as one third of total global greenhouse gas emissions, primarily through the use of fossil fuels during their operational phase.” Buildings and Climate Change, UNEP SBCI

When we heat our buildings with a gas, oil, electric furnace or with a wood burning appliance we are greatly contributing to climate change. They all produce green house gas emissions whether it’s in the production of the energy or in its burning. This problem is magnified when we heat building with little to no insulation because we need to consume more fuel to heat poorly insulated spaces. Super insulated walls (R30-R60) help mitigate climate change by requiring less carbon emitting fuel to heat buildings. They are also more comfortable to live in and less expensive to heat and cool. It’s a win win win!

Low Impact Heating Systems

By using passive solar design strategies, everyone of our buildings is partly heated by the sun. It’s as easy as orientating the building and its living spaces to the south and sizing the windows and the roof overhangs appropriately so the windows are in full sun in the winter and shaded in the summer. This along with super insulation means our buildings do not need air conditioners. They stay cool and comfortable in the summer naturally. From there low impact and high efficiency heatings systems do the rest of the space heating. From air sourced heat-pumps, to high efficiency gas-wood boilers we have never had more to choose from.

Smart & Patient & Custom Design

Straworks starts the design process by visiting a client’s current house and taking a tour of what they like and don’t like. We take photographs and measure their furniture. Then Deirdre and the homeowners, design, revise, design, revise, design, revise until all parties are settled on a plan. This process requires patience but we feels it is fundamental. Going this distance usually means people don’t change their mind further down the line, when more is impacted by changes. We take pride in designing smart floor plans that are custom to peoples’ lives and use space efficiently and elegantly. Again this comes back to not consuming more resources than are necessary. Not building larger spaces than are needed than needed which will ultimately consume more energy to operate. Less is more, within reason.

Straworks Design-Estimate-Build Process

Phase 1

Preliminary Drawing and Estimating

In Phase 1, the following drawings are made in order to estimate the cost of construction:

  • Foundation Plan
  • Main Level Floor Plan
  • Roof Plan
  • Cross Section
  • 3D Model
  • Window and Door Schedule

Estimating

Using these preliminary drawings and lists, Straworks puts together a budget for the construction of the home as drawn.

Phase 2

Construction Drawings

If the cost established in Phase 1 matches your budget we move on to Phase 2. If not, the preliminary drawings are scaled to meet your budget. In Phase 2 the preliminary drawings are developed into a full set of construction drawings that meet the requirements of the Ontario Building Code and are ready to support your building permit application.

Included in full set of construction drawings (15 – 20 pages)

  • Cover Page / General Notes
  • Site Plan
  • South West & North West 3D Views
  • South East & North East 3D Views
  • Foundation Plan
  • Main Floor Plan
  • Basement Floor Plan
  • Roof Plan
  • Cross Sections
  • 2D Elevations
  • Details
  • Window and Door Schedule
  • Material Lists
  • Straworks Wall System No. 1
  • 2 sets of drawings printed and mailed to your address
  • PDF set emailed to you

Not Included:

  • Kitchen, Bathroom or Built-in Cabinetry Design

Please note that although a basic kitchen and bathroom layout is included as part of the floor plan, custom cabinetry design or drawings needed to build cabinets is not included as part of this scope of work.

  • Septic, Heating, HVAC, Plumbing or Electrical Systems Design

Straworks can co-ordinate the design of these systems by the respective professionals.

 One-of-a-Kind Straw Bale Buildings

At its core, Straworks inc. is a design-build company that specializes in designing, estimating, and building one-of-a-kind straw bale and other types of high-performing buildings on time and on budget.

Deirdre is Straworks in-house licensed (BCIN) designer who heads up the design-estimate-build process. Drawing on 18 years of experience working on over 35 projects, her code-compliant plans support permit applications and detail the build through to a smooth and successful finish.

Natural & non-Toxic

Our buildings are primarily plant-based: straw, wood, cellulose insulation, and hemp. Made by nature, these materials do not off-gas any harmful chemicals and support our end goal: healthy indoor air. We carry this through the finishing stage and use only tried-and-true natural plasters, paints, varnish, and sealers that contain no harmful off-gassing ingredients.

Local

The shorter the supply chain, the better. Our buildings are made primarily of straw, clay, sand, and wood, grown or mined in Ontario.

Beauty

Beautiful buildings are sustainable buildings. Year after year, they are occupied, loved, maintained, renovated, passed down, or sold quickly. Unsightly buildings sit on the market or, worse, fall into disrepair. In the name of resource conservation, we work hard to find the sweet spot where budget, ease of construction, function, and beauty meet; to build beautiful places that nourish and inspire connection.

Masses of golden straw, piles of cellulose insulation, batts of hemp, undulating clay-lime plaster, round and deep window surrounds, pine window stools, and earthen floors that are warm to the touch, we build beauty from the inside out. 

 

Low Embodied Energy

Beauty is high, embodied energy is low when natural materials are chosen. Embodied energy is a measure of how much energy goes into harvesting and manufacturing a material. It’s imperative to consider when choosing which type of super insulation with reducing green house gas emissions in mind. Some conventional insulations, such as Extruded Polystyrene (Styrofoam) or Fiberglass, have an extremely high embodied energy and can consume more energy in their manufacturing than they can save as insulation over the course of many years. We can do better than that. Straw and cellulose (recycled newspaper) have a low embodied energy and are thus highly effective at lowering carbon emissions when used as super insulation.

Super Insulation & Climate Change

“It is estimated that at present, buildings contribute as much as one third of total global greenhouse gas emissions, primarily through the use of fossil fuels during their operational phase.” Buildings and Climate Change, UNEP SBCI

When we heat our buildings with a gas, oil, electric furnace or with a wood burning appliance we are greatly contributing to climate change. They all produce green house gas emissions whether it’s in the production of the energy or in its burning. This problem is magnified when we heat building with little to no insulation because we need to consume more fuel to heat poorly insulated spaces. Super insulated walls (R30-R60) help mitigate climate change by requiring less carbon emitting fuel to heat buildings. They are also more comfortable to live in and less expensive to heat and cool. It’s a win win win!

Low Impact Heating Systems

By using passive solar design strategies, everyone of our buildings is partly heated by the sun. It’s as easy as orientating the building and its living spaces to the south and sizing the windows and the roof overhangs appropriately so the windows are in full sun in the winter and shaded in the summer. This along with super insulation means our buildings do not need air conditioners. They stay cool and comfortable in the summer naturally. From there low impact and high efficiency heatings systems do the rest of the space heating. From air sourced heat-pumps, to high efficiency gas-wood boilers we have never had more to choose from.

Smart & Patient & Custom Design

Straworks starts the design process by visiting a client’s current house and taking a tour of what they like and don’t like. We take photographs and measure their furniture. Then together, we design, revise, design, revise, design, revise until all parties settle on a plan. This process takes time but is fundamental. It pays off further down the line when people’s minds stay the same during construction. It’s true; it’s easy to make changes on paper and even more so on a computer.

Straworks Design-Estimate-Build Process

Phase 1

Preliminary Drawing and Estimating

In Phase 1, the following drawings are made in order to estimate the cost of construction:

  • Foundation Plan
  • Main Level Floor Plan
  • Roof Plan
  • Cross Section
  • 3D Model
  • Window and Door Schedule

Estimating

Using these preliminary drawings and lists, Straworks puts together a budget for the construction of the home as drawn.

Phase 2

Construction Drawings

If the cost established in Phase 1 matches your budget we move on to Phase 2. If not, the preliminary drawings are scaled to meet your budget. In Phase 2 the preliminary drawings are developed into a full set of construction drawings that meet the requirements of the Ontario Building Code and are ready to support your building permit application.

Included in full set of construction drawings (15 – 20 pages)

  • Cover Page / General Notes
  • Site Plan
  • South West & North West 3D Views
  • South East & North East 3D Views
  • Foundation Plan
  • Main Floor Plan
  • Basement Floor Plan
  • Roof Plan
  • Cross Sections
  • 2D Elevations
  • Details
  • Window and Door Schedule
  • Material Lists
  • Straworks Wall System No. 1
  • 2 sets of drawings printed and mailed to your address
  • PDF set emailed to you

Not Included:

  • Kitchen, Bathroom or Built-in Cabinetry Design

Please note that although a basic kitchen and bathroom layout is included as part of the floor plan, custom cabinetry design or drawings needed to build cabinets is not included as part of this scope of work.

  • Septic, Heating, HVAC, Plumbing or Electrical Systems Design

Straworks can co-ordinate the design of these systems by the respective professionals.