Strawbale Buildings ~ Disaster resilient & sequesters carbon

I almost died when I lost my home to a fire. I made a promise to myself that I would survive it and find a way to help future disaster survivors build better, while relying less on insurance. Below is an overview of the model for resiliency I landed on, which is based on 5 years of research and involved meeting hundreds of people in the Western US and Washington DC.

It is essential that the model is designed as follows for firestorm survivors:

  1. Deploy an accessory dwelling structure with emergency utility capacity, so that a disaster survivor can live in it within a matter of a few weeks.
  2. The proposed primary structure is made of strawbale or hempcrete which is a fireproof material that is energy efficient, sequesters carbon and has the best indoor air quality of all known building types.

Once the primary home is built, the local municipality can approve the accessory structure as a permanent structure. In the meantime it is legal as post disaster housing or if an active building permit is on file.

Such a configuration allows a disaster survivor to maximize the use of their insurance proceeds and finance the deficit in construction costs, if the accessory structure is used as a rental upon project completion.

In order to create rapid adoption of this model, I wish to lead by example in establishing both of these buildings below on a property. After model completion I can provide a direct mailing to disaster survivors to make them aware of this option. I have done thousands of mailings to confirmed disaster survivors because I have unique skills to do so.

Being a fire survivor too is comforting to the people I would send these mailings to because we have become members of a club we never asked to join. There’s a tangible connection that is quite palpable through that shared experience.

Additionally, I see a significant market demand coming for the immuno compromised seeking healthier buildings. Due to my own personal experience with a VERY water damaged building, I can understand and communicate with ease on this topic as well.

About the Primary Structure

CASBA is a California based association of builders, architects and other talented people that share 20+ years of history in building innovation in the United States and abroad.

This talented group of people has led the way for innovation in natural building development and has even amended the U.S. building code for this structure type. (That is not easy to do!)

Below is a letter endorsing my work on behalf of one of CASBA’s co-directors:

To Whom it May Concern,

The California Straw Building Association (CASBA) is writing in support of Kimberly Carr, a fire survivor whose life mission is to help us all optimize our economic resources for resiliency & recovery.

She wants to create a Housing Resilience Model to help homeowners find peace of mind & increased resiliency to climate change & rising costs:

  1. MOVABLE TINY HOMES: Built to RV code can be emergency housing & converted to a permanent guest home after the primary home is rebuilt.
  2. NATURAL FIBER HOMES: Made of straw, hemp or clay to be disaster resilient, sequester carbon into the walls & offer lower maintenance costs.

Upon completion she will offer a free public plan set to the Town of Paradise which is rebuilding over 13,000 homes. She will also publish a book & videos documenting build details & budget.

CASBA has over 20 years of experience supporting straw bale construction & worked to amend the US building code. We invite you to explore our website for more information at StrawBuilding.org.

Turning her dream into reality will help others build better homes. We feel her ideas & passion can help improve industry practices & we have a strong track record of supporting that goal.

Sincerely,
Massey Burke, Co-Director
info { @ } StrawBuilding.org
California Straw Building Association (CASBA)

You may enjoy this video of our humble beginnings:

This is a great example of strawbale building today:

(Video coming soon)
While waiting for the video, I would like to let you know an important fact: Every year farmers BURN enough straw to build 2-3 million homes. With climate change becoming our most pressing issue to humanity, we must do everything we can to sequester carbon. This building solution solves 2 parts of that equation.

To learn more

Buy THE book

And see the construction details in the US building code appendix.

About the Accessory Dwelling Structure

Accessory dwelling units are becoming a significant need and opportunity for infill housing. Elon Musk recognized the need and how he could apply his skills, so he sold ALL of his estates and is now living in a Casita at SpaceX in Texas. There is no official statement, but I’m willing to bet he’s going to be heavily involved in building factories for this building type.

This foldable structure type is unusual in the tiny home space. It can survive flooding and is resilient to mold and fire. It is also energy efficient.

I added myself to their reservation list. Given the Tesla production history, acquiring a unit could take up to 2 years. If cash is paid in full you get re-prioritized in the production line, but it is non-refundable.

An alternative is to establishing an accessory home with this resiliency model is to contract with an experienced tiny home builder who is associated with one of the trade associations like Tiny Home Industry Association or the American Tiny House Association.

Location, Timing and Ownership

The ideal location of this proposed resiliency model would be in an area with coastal influence for two reasons. One reason is that I would like to have the location be easily accessible to visitors. The other reason is that I have brain inflammation during hot summer temperatures. (I hope after detox that might no longer be an issue.)

I have a few suggested locations and am open to ideas. I plan to keep a rental space in the house available for visitors who want to spend a night or more in the home to experience it and peruse my library.

I would love so much to find people to share this dream I have held since 2012 to build better, while relying less on insurance when disaster hits. Anyone significantly contributing to the project success will be welcome for vacation visits. I am also open to special arrangements with a patron for life tenancy. (For example to revert to a child or estate at the end of my life.)

Achieving this resiliency model to build better after disaster hits would make me feel like the hardship I endured to create was worth it and that my life was well lived with purpose and compassion.

Thanks for visiting,
Kimberly Carr