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Tiny Straw Bale Cabin with Passive Solar Green Roof – VIDEO


This tiny cob and straw bale cabin was built by local artisans as a vacation rental at the Terra Perma eco resort and village in Harrington, Quebec, Canada.

The thick walls are insulated with straw bales and covered with cob (a mixture of clay, sand, straw and water) and a natural limestone plaster.

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Tiny Straw Bale Cabin with Passive Solar Green Roof

Image © Exploring Alternatives

The passive solar roof has a generous overhang on all sides to keep the tiny home cool in summer, warm in winter, and to protect the cob walls from the elements. The flat roof was lined with a rubber pool liner and covered with mulch to create a space for plants to colonize a green roof which will further insulate the green building.

Simple design with an upstairs sleeping loft!

Image © Exploring Alternatives

Tiny Straw Bale & Cob Cabin

The cabin measures just over 200 square feet, not including the generous loft running the length of the cabin with space for two full-sized mattresses, and two separate ladders. It is heated with a wood stove.

Image © Exploring Alternatives

Video: Micro Straw Bale Cabin with Passive Solar Green Roof

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Danielle Chabassol
Danielle is a digital nomad who is passionate about tiny spaces, living with less, reducing waste and eating plant-based food. Danielle is half of the Exploring Alternatives blog & video project. You can find more of her at www.ExploringAlternatives.ca and her Exploring Alternatives YouTube Channel.

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{ 9 comments… add one }
  • ZACHARY E. MOHRMANN March 16, 2017, 3:50 pm

    Straw bale houses are a great way to build, I personally don’t care for them, but they are a great insulating building material, and have shown in the past to be a long lasting.. As a building material that has been around for a long time now, it is also not expensive, and a recyclable material, that doesn’t make a great impact on our ecosystem, which is always a big plus in my book…! I could only wish that more of our building materials were as the same in both aspects…

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee March 20, 2017, 11:12 am

      Totally agree, Zachary!

  • ROSEE March 17, 2017, 11:11 am

    A great idea too of using straw for insulation. The video didn’t show very much, so I am guessing this is just a weekend get away cabin.

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee March 20, 2017, 10:41 am

      I love straw bales! Some folks do live year-round in them.

  • iris March 17, 2017, 12:08 pm

    I heard that it is wise to sprinkle banking soda and rat poisoning in the straw or along the edges but I am not sure if this would cause a meldew?

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee March 19, 2017, 5:29 pm

      I’m not familiar enough with straw bale houses to give you advice, but you could check out this site: https://www.strawbale.com/

  • iris March 17, 2017, 12:11 pm

    grass roofs have been known to bed insects, worms, birds, mice but if one had a cat they have to come down eventually. I was thinking that if I was to build a small house that I mite build a small shed, dirt the top, and grow tomatoes and beans so that deer won’t eat them up. Or, plant them below and shoot the deer for meat…corn growing and hunting time the lazy way.

    • Natalie C. McKee Natalie C. McKee March 19, 2017, 5:28 pm

      Haha very creative solutions!

  • Karen Blackburn November 3, 2018, 6:04 am

    Iris, years ago my grandparents moved into a thatched cottage (it was the oldest forge in England, still there). Not long after they moved in someone left the hatch into the loft open and their cat, Puddy, got into the attic. Puddy was a great hunter who would hunt anything and everything including large dogs (don’t ask) and once up he wouldn’t come down. He finally reappeared 6 weeks later, when Pop went up to look there were lots of bones but no rodents or birds, and the cat was several pounds heavier. Always used as a reason NOT to have a thatched roof. This would have happened back in the late 1950s.

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