About Us
 What's New
 House Plans
 Image Galleries
 SBE Directory
 Contact Us

 FREE Straw Bale  Emergency Shelter  Plans

 Builders Without  Borders Straw-Bale  Construction Guides

 The Last Straw -
 The International  Journal of Straw  Bale and Natural  Building

- Promoting natural building, and sustainable design and development, through research, training, education and consulting services.
Straw Bale Training

Building with bales is growing by leaps and bounds because of its broad appeal to owner-builders and its extraordinary energy-efficiency. In just a few weeks you will learn the basic principles needed to build your own strawbale house.

With this course you get a combination of theoretical book knowledge and applied hands-on learning – which is a great way to learn. In addition, an Advisor at the Geiger Research Institute will provide individual guidance and critical analysis throughout the training process via email.

You will be using the best resource materials throughout the course. More Straw Bale Building, by Chris Magwood, Peter Mack and Tina Therrien, is one of the best books ever written on straw-bale construction. The Last Straw Journal CD-Rom puts 40 issues at your finger tips, enabling you to search through all the best ideas. And, selected Internet links to the best online resources are an integral part of the course.

Online training offers tremendous flexibility. You can start the course at any time and proceed at your own pace. There is no need to travel to some distant school or workshop. And again, when you need help your Advisor will be available to answer your questions.

Course outline:
Purpose of this Course
How to Use This Study Guide
Strawbale and Natural Building Home Tour
Advantages of Straw-Bale Construction
Basic Design Considerations
Strawbale Building Types
Ideal Building Bales
Protecting the Bales
Site Selection and Preparation
Building Layout and Foundations
Mechanical Systems
Stacking the Bale Walls
Making Custom-Sized Bales
Making Angled Bales
Attaching Things on Straw Bale Walls
Pinning the Walls
Filling the Gaps
Installing Doors and Windows
Interior Walls
Building the Roof
Ceilings and Ceiling Insulation
Floor Basics
Built-in Furniture
Art and Decoration
Straw Bale Shelter Project
Regulatory Issues
Common Mistakes in Strawbale Houses
Wall Captain Responsibilities
List of Materials
List of Tools
Annotated Straw Bale Bibliography
Answers to Quizzes

Course fee: $250

Registration Form

Why take this course?

Wouldn’t you like to live in a superinsulated strawbale house that requires minimal energy costs? Energy companies recognize that higher energy costs are inevitable in the coming years. Strawbale houses offer maximum insulation at the lowest cost, and are well suited for owner-builders.

Imagine building your own home just the way you want it, using the beauty of natural materials throughout - no sheetrock, no linoleum, no plastic countertops, and no particleboard or other materials that offgass toxic fumes. This course shows you how to do it.

One obstacle for do-it-yourselfers is the big leap from reading a book to actually being able to build their own home. This course is designed to bridge that gap by incorporating hands-on training activities that guide you step-by-step through each step of construction.

What about taking a workshop? This course is better than a workshop in a number of ways: an Advisor remains with you throughout the course (where would you go for help after a workshop?), you can work at your own pace, there is no need to travel somewhere else, it is much more in-depth, the best resources are used and can be referred to repeatedly, different points of view are considered, and the content is always current. Workshops are good to a point, but most people are left wondering “what do I do now?”

In addition to the benefits listed above, here are a few other reasons for taking this course:

• Step-by-step training for each stage of construction from design to finishing touches is presented in the same sequence as actual construction. (None of the strawbale books do it this way.)
• An experienced Advisor answers your questions and helps sort out the best solutions for your region. There is a wide range of different techniques available, new ideas coming out all the time and many conflicting opinions, so expert guidance is invaluable.
• The course emphasizes low-cost, sustainable solutions. No other book, video or training course offers this same content. As our environment becomes increasingly fragile, and as the cost of building materials and fuel costs rise, these sustainable building techniques will take on even greater importance.
• Hands-on activities for each topic give you valuable experience by practicing each step. These skills are further practiced on the Emergency Shelter and the same skills can be used to build your home.
• Each topic is summarized by key points, making it clear what is most important.
• Quizzes are included to reinforce important concepts and to help students gauge their progress. Answers are located at the end of the Study Guide.
• Microsoft Word provides an easy-to-use, fast-loading format.
• Links to the best Internet sites are just a click away.
• The content is always up-to-date, unlike books that quickly become dated.

Computer requirements: Microsoft Word and a connection to the Internet

Registration Form

Straw-Bale Construction Training Online was developed by Dr. Owen Geiger, the co-author of the Builders Without Borders Straw-Bale Construction Guides. Dr. Geiger has years of experience designing and building strawbale houses as a licensed contractor, analyzing structural systems as an engineer, training volunteers and overseeing strawbale projects as a project manager (including international projects). He developed the first straw-bale construction certification program, is a correspondent for The Last Straw, an Expert Advisor for, and provides consulting services on international housing projects. Dr. Geiger’s Ph.D. is in affordable and sustainable housing. He developed this online training program to encourage sustainable building practices, train the next generation of natural builders and increase affordable housing options for those most in need.

Crestone, Colorado 81131 Email: Contact Information