February 11, 2015

475 On-Site: Vapor-Open Straw Bale with Vermont Natural Homes



We had the great pleasure of meeting with builder and owner of Vermont Natural Homes, Chad Mathrani, at his home under construction outside of Brattleboro, Vermont. Chad is building using a combination of straw bale insulation and blown-in cellulose, with airtightness provided by lime-stabilized clay plaster and a variety of materials from Pro Clima.

The recipe includes: SOLITEX MENTO Plus for exterior airtightness with dense pack insulation; SOLITEX MENTO 1000 for exterior connection to slab and above plaster, to roof; DB+ for interior airtightness on ceilings and with dense pack insulation; CONTEGA FC for interior connections from clay plaster to wood; CONTEGA EXO for exterior connections from clay plaster to wood; TESCON PROFIL for window, door, and corner connections; TESCON VANA for flat seams on airtight membranes and at window connections; EXTOSEAL ENCORS for heavy-duty sill pan protection; LUNOS e² and eGO for decentralized, ductless, heat recovery ventilation.

As you can see, Chad treats each part of this project with thoughtfulness and care. Every connection is clean and precise.  It’s built to last. It was also interesting to see a project that has incorporated a combination of very traditional and up-to-the-moment building science when building something truly durable and sustainable. Chad’s house is a unique and comprehensive example of natural building at its best. For fantastic photos documenting this project and more information about Vermont Natural Homes, visit their Facebook page.



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4 Responses to 475 On-Site: Vapor-Open Straw Bale with Vermont Natural Homes

  1. Clarke Snell February 15, 2015 at 10:41 am #

    Thanks for this video. I’ve been out of the straw bale game for a while, so I don’t know how pioneering this project is in terms of attempting to meld high performance air sealing with “natural building” techniques. Based on my experience, I am skeptical that the lime stabilized clay plaster will prove an effective air barrier. I hope I’m wrong and will be very interested to hear about the results of the blower door test on this project.

    Great project. Thanks for sharing.


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