Chartreuse Blog

Local Contractors Prepare to Build Shed Frame

Plain Green is less than two weeks away, and local contractors are preparing to begin work on the structural frame for Sioux Falls Seminary’s Summit House future Tool Lending Library.  The project is progressing as a Community Service Project built in conjunction with the sustainability conference.

The Plain Green Conference and Marketplace brings two days of advancing sustainability to the Washington Pavilion in downtown Sioux Falls April 28-29, 2010. Plain Green is the premiere conference on green design, business and ideas on the Northern Plains.  This year, the event will open with the bale raising and plastering of the straw bale shed at Summit House by Plain Green attendees.

The shed will be an example of infill construction using a modified post and beam structure.  Infill straw bale is predominately used in construction for a few reasons. First, infill is easier to meet code, get insurance, and get mortgage lenders because it is more like traditional methods of construction than structural straw bale. It is adaptable, fits into many architectural styles, is changeable after construction, and allows for a much larger structure. It is also easier to repair or replace damaged sections. The use of a post and beam structure allows for the construction of a roof before the bales are stacked. This allows the bales to be protected from the weather during construction.

The foundation will keep the bales well above grade. As long as the bales are not able to leach water from the ground, any foundation type can be used, with appropriate design considerations for material weight and climate.  At Summit House, a slab on grade with a thickened edge will be used.  Two pressure treated sill plates or a “toe-up” will be constructed around the perimeter and filled with pea gravel to provide a capillary break. A waterproof barrier will separate the toe-up from the foundation as well as the toe up from the bales.  Rebar will impale the bottom courses of bales to keep the wall in place on top of the toe up. Weep holes will be added to the exterior base plate to allow drainage.  Two foot overhangs will also protect the bales from moisture.

The shed will be stuccoed with a cement-lime plaster.  Plasters are made up of a binding agent, the main component of the plaster, a structural filler such as sand, rock or aggregates, and water.  At least three layers are applied, a scratch coat, a brown coat, and a finish coat. When using cement and lime plasters a metal mesh is used as reinforcement in the plaster.  A moisture barrier will not be used.

The project is presented by Puetz Corporation.  Co-Sponsors include Bruns Construction, Amert Construction, Koch Hazard Architects, Jeld-Wen, Schoeneman’s, Carlson General Carpentry, and the Pettigrew Heights Housing Resource Center.