The Norman Transcript

Features

July 29, 2005

A straw house

Myrna Fletcher is building the first house in Norman made with straw bales — and that ain’t hay.

About 500 bales of tightly bound straw will insulate the 2,700-square-foot structure on 24th Avenue N.E., just north of Franklin Road. Fletcher will build the home, with help from volunteers and friends, on her farm in front of her present house.

A foundation is in place and the bales are ready to go. Other materials are being gathered, but the construction pace depends on the flow of volunteers (that’s easy) and money (a tad tougher). Yet, progress almost always continues.

“We started the plans two years ago, but I’ve wanted a straw-bale house for 12 years,” Fletcher said.

Straw bales and mud will be key components to the house, but that won’t make it a primitive structure. Norman architect Dave Boeck designed the home as a post-and-beam structure. A concrete foundation recently was poured, and the house will have sheet rock, plaster and interior cedar posts that are quite artistic for support.

The three-bedroom, 21/2-bathroom home will have large windows for beauty and ventilation, a safe room in its middle, and insulation that can’t be beat — thanks to the straw bales.

Fletcher and Boeck say straw provides oustanding insulation from noise and outdoor weather. Architects measure insulation by a scale called R-value, and Boeck said the straw-bale house will measure better than R-50.

“The standard requirement is R-19 for the home and R-32 for a roof,” he said. Put another way, “Normally, it would take about $200 a month to heat a house this size, but this could cost $20 to $30.” For Fletcher, a widow on a fixed income, saving that much on energy would be a huge benefit.

Nevertheless, isn’t straw vulnerable to fire, let alone the huffing and puffing big, bad wolf? Apparently not.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
  • Ceremony marks opening of community center

    A July 23 ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the addition of another feature to the Chickasaw Nation Carter service campus in Ardmore....

    July 27, 2014

  • Chickasaw Cultural Center a terrific place to visit

    SULPHUR — The Chickasaw Cultural Center is a magnificent tribute to a proud people and their storied heritage. Located an easy hour’s drive south from Norman, it’s among the finest travel destinations in Oklahoma. Set on 109 scenic acres, ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Prisoner re-entry planning for offenders with mental illness

    People leaving incarceration face a variety of challenges even without a diagnosis of mental illness. But for those who face mental health issues, re-entry into society can be troublesome. That is the topic in the first of the 2014 Fall ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Exhibit takes families on food expedition

    If your palate enjoys culinary diversity or if you’re interested in introducing new flavors to your family, join the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History in tasting international delights and create your own treat during Family ...

    July 27, 2014

  • Resident makes art in new home

    There’s an old saying about a picture being “worth a thousand words,” which took on a literal meaning recently....

    July 27, 2014

  • Parents should work on themselves first

    I absolutely love it when people begin to realize that the problems they’re having with a child are of their own making; when they begin to realize, in other words, that the child is not the problem — they are. All this time (however long ...

    July 25, 2014

  • Helping cat with first veterinarian visit

    Dear Dr. Fox: A stray kitty adopted me a couple months ago and has since been tamed enough that I have found a vet to neuter him and do some much-needed dental work. My fear is that the poor boy will be so traumatized by this ordeal that ...

    July 24, 2014

  • Veterans Corner needs volunteer to drive residents to OKC VA

    Veterans Corner volunteer of the week David Sudduth has been with us for the last eight years. He is a veteran of the U.S. Air Force who served during the Vietnam War. David and his wife, Carolyn, have had their home in the Newalla area ...

    July 23, 2014

  • Low-cost and free cell phone options for thrifty seniors

    Dear Savvy Senior, What are the cheapest cell phone options available today to seniors living on a shoestring budget? I only need it for occasional calls. — Seldom Calling Senior Dear Seldom, For financially challenged seniors who only ...

    July 22, 2014

  • Harrah residents at home in restored vintage camper

    Sulphur — David Wiegert was quick to help a couple of newbie campers at the Buckhorn Campground on Arbuckle Lake in the Chickasaw National Recreation Area. What Dave offered was badly needed advice on setting up travel trailers, where to ...

    July 20, 2014