Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

Design Keeps Straw-Bale Homes from Rotting, Builder Says.(Business)

Byline: Garrett Ordower Journal Staff Writer

Ed Paschich's latest creation is more than just a house; it's virtually a self-sustaining environment.

"It's exciting to think of your house as an environment," said Virginia Price, who lives in the home with her husband, Allen Heaton.

Paschich designed the straw-bale house to be sustainable, meaning it depletes as few natural resources as possible.

There are about 200 homes in New Mexico that have been built using straw bales, which are compressed bricks of straw. Paschich, who has a long background of environmental design, initially refused to build with straw bales.

"The current straw-bale techniques are less than what I would call sustainable," he said.

Paschich, the biggest contractor, homebuilder and developer in Corrales, according to his Web site, has written a new book, "Mainstreaming Sustainable Architecture: Casa de Paja A Demonstration," to help others remedy the problems. …

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