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Local homes going green by kissing brick goodbye


Deborah Benjamin April 17th, 2008

Norman resident Myrna Fletcher lives in a straw bale house. "We get the three little pigs jokes all the time," Fletcher said with a chuckle. Her house is just one example of home construction in the...

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Norman resident Myrna Fletcher lives in a straw bale house.

"We get the three little pigs jokes all the time," Fletcher said with a chuckle.

Her house is just one example of home construction in the state that's challenging conventional building practices by using "green" techniques. Nestled on the corner of 24th Avenue N.E. and Franklin Road in northeast Norman, Fletcher's house has been years in the making: Work on the 2,700-square-foot home started in October 2004. Fletcher and her husband, who's now deceased, had ideas for the floor plans and Fletcher turned their vision over to architect Dave Boeck.

"About 15 years ago, a book came out by Bill and Athena Steen called 'The Straw Bale House' and I saw that and I said, 'If I ever build a house, that is what I am going to do,'" Fletcher said. "It took me a long time to work on my husband to even get him moving in that direction, and he didn't live to see it."

BENEFITS
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, straw bale has been used in Europe for hundreds of years, and in the United States straw houses grew in popularity when the hay/straw baler entered "common usage in the 1890s."

Fletcher said building with straw bale is fairly simple and economical. If built correctly, the home is waterproof and fire resistant. The other key for Fletcher is that she's using an agricultural byproduct " Oklahoma wheat " for her home. "Deborah Benjamin

 
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