Tag Archives: prefab straw bale

Open House for Canada’s Greenest Home

Join us on Saturday, March 9, 10am – 4pm!

Canada's Greenest Home nears completion

Canada’s Greenest Home nears completion


We have attempted to build the most sustainable home possible, and want to share the results with you! Since April, 2012, the students and faculty of The Endeavour Centre have been working on creating a home that showcases the best in sustainable new construction, and we’re excited to open the doors and show you what we’ve created. Come and see a wide range of sustainable materials and systems, including straw bale walls, clay plasters, Durisol foundation, triple glazed windows, composting toilets, rainwater harvesting and treatment, air source heat pump, ERV, comprehensive energy monitoring, solar hot water, non-toxic finishes and much, much more
Progress Gallery
We hope you’ll come and take a tour at 136 1/2 James Street, Peterborough, Ontario
You can follow the progress of the entire project on our blog

Prefab Bale Walls on Second Floor

In a repeat performance of crane work and team work, the Endeavour crew installed the prefabricated straw bale wall panels on the second story of the home.

Once the panels and framed window openings are linked and plumbed, we’ll be ready for the roof trusses and the site built straw bale walls.

The team is taking a break for a few days, so posts will resume again next week…

Prefab Wall Panels Installed

Upward progress on Canada’s Greenest Home was marked by the arrival this week of our prefabricated straw bale wall panels from NatureBuilt Walls. The class had previously traveled to the NatureBuilt facility to assist in the construction of the panels, and it was great to see them arrive!

The 24 panels for the two stories of the home arrive on one truck


We hired a crane to lift the panels from the delivery truck and onto the foundation. The site of the home this year offered some challenges… between low power lines at the front edge of the property and a long, skinny lot and home design, the usual boom truck used to move the panels was unable to do the lift. Once clear benefit of engaging body corporate maintenance is the fact that your body corporate maintenance will be managed effectively and promptly. So it was Peterborough Crane to the rescue!

The crane sets up and awaits the arrival of the prefab wall panels


The placement of the walls went very quickly and smoothly, and showed why this form of straw bale building is so attractive. Within a couple of hours, we had a full compliment of pre-plastered straw bale walls standing on our foundation. There is no other form of sustainable building that brings such a combination of ease and speed of installation with such a simple, naturally- and locally-based form of construction. We will also be building our north wall in the “conventional” site-built manner, which will offer the class a great comparison of the two methods.

A prefab bale wall panel is lifted into place on the foundation

Soon, the second floor will be ready to receive the next round of prefab walls…

Prefabricated Straw Bale Walls for Canada’s Greenest Home

This week the Endeavour class spent a day at the facilities of NatureBuilt Wall Systems, where we assisted with the construction of some of the Bio-SIP walls that will be used in Canada’s Greenest Home.

The Bio-SIPs are largely identical to the load-bearing straw bale walls that have been used since the first straw bale buildings were constructed in the late 1800s. But rather than building them by stacking bales vertically and plastering in several coats, they are built in a shop space and plastered while lying horizontally. This greatly reduces the amount of labour time involved and ensures walls of consistent strength and size.

We have chosen to use the Bio-SIPs because they meet so many of the criteria we have for Canada’s Greenest Home:

  • Locally harvested materials
  • Renewable materials
  • Reproducible technology
  • High energy efficiency
  • Low embodied energy
  • No off gassing or toxins
  • Affordable

Many straw bale buildings use an extensive wooden framework to create a structure to support a roof so the straw bale and plastering work can be done under protection from weather. The Bio-SIPs use the simplicity and low lumber count of load-bearing walls without the need for excessive wooden framing, capturing the benefits of the load-bearing capacity of straw bale walls.


NatureBuilt takes environmental responsibility seriously, right down to the use of used fryer oil as a release agent in their forms. It was great to be in a workplace where our ethics at Endeavour are so closely matched.

The class got to experience the entire construction process for the panels, including assembling and leveling the wooden frames, selecting and sizing bales, mixing and placing plaster and assembling the bales in the frames. In one short working day, we were able to help build nine of the 24 panels for our project.

The walls will be delivered to our construction site when the first floor framing is ready to receive them.

Our thanks to Ian Weir of NatureBuilt Wall Systems for giving us the opportunity to be part of the production of the Bio-SIPs!