For Release April 14th to April 16th For Further Information Contact:
Telephone: (416) 450-2499
Or (519) 942-3266
Like an Old-fashioned Barn Raising
The pioneering spirit is alive and well in the Mono Township, North of Toronto, this Easter Weekend. Friends, family, and a host of volunteers will join homeowners John Wilson and Leigh Geraghty for a "Straw Bale Weekend" at their home near Mono Mills. "The idea", says John Wilson, "is to create a home which is healthy, beautiful and sustainable, by turning to old/new technologies such as straw-bale construction, sod roofs, and composting toilets."
John and his family look forward to moving into their "healthy house" in May, a dream that has taken over seven years to realize. Since his children were born, John has developed a strong interest in preserving the natural environment, and leaving a healthier world for Ian and Claire to grow up in. The natural warmth of the sun will heat the house, while a sod roof and straw bale walls protect it from the heat of summer and the cold of winter.
Early settlers in Nebraska first used straw bales to construct homes in the late 1800s. Faced with no trees to mill and soil too sandy to use for sod homes, they turned to the abundant supply of prairie grasses and their recently invented baling machines. Many of these turn-of-the-century homes, schools and churches still stand today. Modern straw bale construction uses the same basic principles applied by the Nebraskan pioneers, but updated to meet current building code requirements. Straw bale homes offer insulation values more than double that of standard frame homes. Environmentally, the use of straw bales replaces the majority of the framing lumber, manufactured insulation and plastic barriers with an annually renewable, agricultural waste product. Straw bale homes consistently use less than one half of the heating and cooling energy required by standard frame homes.
The straw bale post and beam house has been designed by award winning architect Martin Liefhebber, to compliment its natural surroundings and capitalize on readily available resources, such as the energy of the sun, the natural slope of the land, and protection of the trees. The living roof will grow low-maintenance plants typical of the surrounding area. The house is structured to maximise passive solar heat with concrete floors that also have hydronic tubing as a back-up heat source. Composting toilets will allow the recycling of human waste without polluting the environment.
Anyone interested in healthy, sustainable building should contact the Natural Life Network at 519-942-3266 or visit www.naturallifenetwork.com.
Q & A Sheet
Contact: Leigh Geraghty @ 519-942-3266 or email@example.com
Martin Liefhebber, architect
Martin’s projects have an emphasis on community and environmental conservation. His work on alternative building technologies is locally and internationally recognized, including the European Energy Agency, the International Congress of Industrial Designers as well as the Canadian Architectural community. Most notable are the ‘Toronto Healthy Houses', which are independent from the municipal service structure. In September ’99, the project was featured on a Canadian post stamp in a series depicting the evolution of Canadian housing. His work is on permanent display at the Ontario Science Museum and the Museum of Science and Technology in Ottawa, under the category of ‘domestic innovation’. Recent completed work including the Straw bale House on 977 Meadow Wood Road, Mississauga have a similar philosophical orientation. He is Adjunct Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto teaching energy systems. He participates in several Toronto based initiatives with a focus on the quality of life and the environment.
John Wilson and Leigh Geraghty, owners
John Wilson is the founder of the "Natural Life Network", a website that offers information and resources related to "living solutions" for home, work, transportation and food. John works full time as a product manager for a leading software developer. Leigh Geraghty has a background in education. Her concern about the environment dates back to spending summers at her grandparents' cottage and teaching in the Canadian north. She works for the Ontario Government as a manager of organizational learning and development. John and Leigh have two children. Ian, 8 and Claire, 6.
Colin Richards, builder
Colin Richards has been a homebuilder and for over 30 years, working primarily in the Collingwood area. He recently moved to Bolton, and has taken on this project because of a growing interest in alternative construction.