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From the Twentieth Anniversary Report November 2004
7. A House for our Home, Offices, and Meeting Place
In 1996 we began designing a space to house the offices of Realistic Living, a home for Joyce and Gene, and space for various meetings. We wanted this home to embody alternative architectural and energy-saving qualities. The house was completed in 1998. Pictures can be seen on our web site, and a page of pictures depicting its construction is included in this report.
The outer walls are infilled with straw bales making a wall that is 22 inches thick with layers of stucco over the bales inside and out. Tight metal windows with Argon-gas-filled, double-pane glass and thermal breaks add further energy savings. Three-foot eaves overhanging the large south windows shade the summer sun and let the winter sun stream in. Roof and foundation insulation complete an unusually energy-efficient house. A 120-gallon water tank heated by solar panels with electrical backup provides hot water and doubles as a boiler for heating the house.
The house also has many innovations of beauty and practicality – thirteen-foot ceilings in the public areas, light coming into each room from two or three directions, curved entrances to the living room, tiled floors throughout, quiet ceiling fans, and many other carefully crafted features. We are very happy with this building. You are invited to come by and see it, and perhaps stay the night in our guest room.