Monday, February 17, 2014

Strawbale workshop set for September 12th through the 19th. 2015

This Workshop is designed for people who are truly interested in building Strawbale either for a home, shop or outbuilding. Whether you have been thinking about building it yourself or acting as the general contractor or having someone build for you the information that I share will be invaluable and hopefully will give you the confidence to take the next step towards building a home that is naturally efficient with a smaller embodied energy footprint. Much of what I will be sharing would apply to standard stick frame construction.

The Work shop will be hosted on my 70 acre off grid inholding called the Way Back Inn.

For more info about the property see:;

There is plenty of room for car and tent camping, facilities, and kitchen amenities.

 For when a home dreams green it dreams strawbale ™

In this workshop we will be Building a small studio of my own design. The Studio will be approximately 200 sq. ft. The foundation will be of “Earthship Design” made of tire. Then we will switch to Strawbale for everything above grade.

             Workshop participants can expect to learn my basic techniques for residential Strawbale construction from design to foundation to roof including electrical wiring in a strawbale wall and at the least a general overview of my approach to Natural Plasters and Finishes.

Itinerary: Each Morning will begin with a discussion of Passive Solar and Construction design principles as it applies to Strawbale Building. Including but not limited to site location, infrastructure, building envelope, Vapor and moisture management heat transfer and how it relates to mass and glazing, plaster paints and finishes and myth busting ie…fire, earthquake, wind, moisture and engineer testing.

I have designed the course so that Individuals may sign up for 1 or more days or the entire week.

Sat. 9/12

            Arrival Set up camp,

2:00 PM;

Tour of property and it's infrastructure; Photovoltaic system, septic, gravity fed well and spring, Historic Log Cabin and Tyre Strawbale addition.

Discussion; an overview of what we hope to learn over the coming days.

Cost: $25.00 per person

Sun. 9/13 – Fri. 9/19

            9:00 – 10:30 AM. Open Discussion; design principles etc…

            11:00 – 12:00 getting that day’s job started; layout, assignment of duties, organization and work.

            12;00 – 1:00 Lunch

            1:00 – 5:00 Finally we’ll get something done!

Cost $75.00 per person per day.

            $10:00 per tent site per day

            $15:00 per person per day for meals. Meals include: Continental breakfast, Deli style lunch, and family style dinner prepared by teams to be determined at orientation.

To register Contact me---Greg Walter @ 719-539-0420 or or Fill out Registration form here


About the Instructor: Greg Walter has over the course of the first decade of the 21st Century has designed and built from the ground up eight Strawbale Homes, three of which used tires for the below grade stem-wall / foundation.

                My interest in alternative construction or natural building goes back to at least my late teens. While living in Red Feather Lakes I was exposed to a variety of interesting folks who definitely did not fit into the normal social paradigm. From tree houses, to modern day homesteaders who were literally living off the land, to multi generation mountain folk whom had their own 19th century belt drivin, off grid machine shop and foundry. I was also introduced to books like Homework , Homemade Houses, and books that featured folks who had turned old trucks and busses into comfortable homes. As someone living on my own throughout my teens and early 20’s these all had a powerful influence on me.

            Later on through my 20’s I would be turned on by the Earthship books by Micheal Renalds, Living the Good Life by Helen and Scott Kneering and Bill Mollison’s Permaculture: a Designers Manual. During this time I started to here of Strawbale. This was some time in the late 80’s and early 90”s and there was something that really rang true to me about that kind of construction. At the time there really wasn’t much literature on the subject but the idea--- it just stuck with me.

            At the same time I was finishing up a 10 year career in ski bumming and as I was nearing my 30’s I began to burn out on the lifestyle. I mean really, if you are thinking of yourself as a granola crunching, tree huggin, 3-pinnen hippy carrying the weight of the world----well, ya can’t be livin much higher on the carbon and economic food chain than living at 10,000 feet, riding a chairlift every day, and workin for tips off the more well to do folks of society. Or at least that’s how I began to see it. No offence.

            So that’s when I decided to buy some off the grid property and take my own stab at “Living the Good Life” and sustainability and all that stuff that really is ever elusive and not that easy to attain. But, in my opinion is sure is worth the try. I mean you gotta believe in something. Right! Anyhow, I went about finding a local Strawbale Guru and a small little self-published guide called Build it with Bales by Matts Myhrman. Soon I found myself building a Tire and strawbale addition to an old historic log miners cabin that I was also remodeling on the property that I had purchased.

            After starting that project I was approached locally by someone who wanted me to help design and build her home. It was also a tire and Strawbale hybrid.

            Ten years and eight homes later; which I designed and built, and with a lot of research and reading I now feel confident, inspired and obliged to share the knowledge and passion I have acquired.