Entries by Catherine Mohr

Stucco and the garage door

Now that the main sheets of drywall are up, it it possible to start stuccoing the outside of the house without worrying that the pounding of drywall nails will crack and knock off the stucco. About half of the first layer of stucco (called the “scratch” coat) is now on the house.  The strawbale library […]

Insulation part 2

After the radiant barrier was all installed, it was time to put in the wetpack cellulose insulation.  At 86 MJ/m^3 , it is a much lower embodied energy insulation than either fiberglass bat (336 MJ/m^3) or the polyurethane insulation (2160 MJ/m^3).  While it is not quite as high a performance an insulation as the polyurethane, we […]


Embodied energy calculations

If you are curious about the calculations that went into the embodied energy estimate, this spreadsheet contain all the numbers your heart desires: Embodied Energy Calculation. This is not a polished document. It is the working spreadsheet into which I put all of my calculations on the embodied energy of the house. The first sheet […]

Sheetrock and Insulation Start

There are five types of insulation going into the house:  sprayfoam polyurethane, straw bales (of course!), bluejeans cotton batts,  radiant barrier (bubble wrap and roof board), and cellulose.  Each has it’s job, and it’s strengths and weaknesses. Spray foam: You can spray it almost anywhere, it sticks to any surface, it fills and expands in […]

Heat Exchangers

In the attempt to make the house as energy efficient as possible, there are quite a few heat exchangers set up around the house to take help keep all the warmth and coolth in it’s proper places.  Some are active, some are passive, and they run the gamut of passing heat from air to air, […]


Strawbale Details

It has been a long time between blog posts, but there will be a few catchup.  Catherine has been spending her weekends finishing up all the detailing on the straw bale library interior.  We left the exterior finishing to the experts because it has to be waterproof! After the bale raising party, there is still […]

A B-log Entry

This is the seemingly slow period in which the framing punch list gets finished up, and all the electrical wiring, plumbing and HVAC ducting gets installed.  The fast and furious pace of framing has given way to lots of individual contractor work, but often not a lot of very visible progress.  Still, the back sliding […]


Bale Raising!

This post is coming a bit after the bale raising for a couple of reasons – one we’ve been crazy busy, and the other is we were very disheartened by the fact that most of our photos of the bale raising are gone in the digital camera equivalent of opening up the back of the […]



WARNING: this is an extremely long and geeky blog posting.  Proceed at your own risk. We, like so many others, would like to be good global citizens, which means that we would like to minimize the global impact of building our house.  So we look for environmentally sound choices.  We want to “go green” – […]

Stuff Starts Arriving

With both Paul and Catherine traveling so much in the last few weeks, blogging has been a bit sporadic, but there many details that are starting to take shape.  The plumbers, electricians and HVAC guys are drilling holes everwhere and running pipe, wire and ducts respectively all over. Windows, doors, and even the big copper […]