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2014 Spring Conference Recap

It was another fabulous Spring Conference. Many kudos to the planning committee! Please note that we will continue to add videos as time permits so please check back.

Here are some highlights...

KeyNote Address by Paula Baker LaPorte, FAIA. Econest: the Biology of Building -- this was a super-inspiring presentation and all we can say is we wish you were there!

Introduction to Straw Building and History of Bale Construction in San Luis Obispo County by Ken Haggard and Polly Cooper. This fascinating overview included information on the site of our conference, Camp Ocean Pines, which has several strawbale bunkhouses.

Strawbale 101 by Turko Semmes and Scott Clark. This 1-1/2 hour presentation and Q&A session covered many of the basics of building with strawbales, with some elements engendering lively debate amongst our seasoned builders and contractors. Those new to the concept of straw building were also able to jump in and ask specific questions. View the videos!

5 x 5s - Open to any attendee, presenters had five minutes to show five slides about something they are involved with in the world of straw building. Presentations included:

Darcey Donovan on the "Seismic Performance of Innovative Straw Bale Wall Systems" test program at the University of Nevada, Reno. Sponsored by Pakistan Straw Bale and Appropriate Builders (PAKSBAB), this test program looked at four strawbale wall assemblies and a house on a shake table, simulating significant seismic activity. View the video!

Jim Reiland on Shaping Window and Door Reveals. Jim shares three options that will likely be included in the forthcoming Detail Book (produced by CASBA). View the video!

David Arkin gave a Preview of some of the items to be covered in the Member Meeting. Topics include: CASBA's recent outreach efforts including Placerville Booth,  We Add Up t-shirts, and strawbale ampitheater at the Outside Lands music festival in Golden Gate Park; as well as Strawbale Building Code efforts; the CASBA Fall Member's Retreat; and next year's conference.

Bill Donovan on a Strawbale Barn Project, and working with professionals who are inexperienced in strawbale building.

Philip Jankoski on the Master Plan for the Blue Sky Sustainable Living Center. Located in Cuyama Valley in Santa Barbara County on the former site of the headquarters of Atlantic Richfield Oil, this future education, research and demonstration facility will focus on best practices in sustainability.

Bruce King on the Eco Build Net Library, an online collaborative resource of natural building techniques and materials that he is developing.

Detail Book "details" Preview -- In preparation for the forthcoming publication of our strawbuilding detail book, visuals of many of the proposed details were presented, and attendees were able to review and annotate/comment.

50-minute Breakout Sessions on various topics, such as passive solar building, sustainable wood, embodied energy... and much more!

Award Presentations

The 2014 Traveling Strawdog Award was presented to CJ CavetView the video!

The 2014 Big Heart Award went to Martin Hammer! View the video!

Advisory Board Meeting and Membership Meeting, where all kinds of juicy CASBA-related topics were discussed including upcoming plans.

Raffle of t-shirts and books --  including two copies Chris Magwood's new book Making Better Buildings, which were donated by his publisher New Society, as well as other donations such as Earthen Floors: A Modern Approach To An Ancient Practice, by Sukita Reay Crimmel and James Thomson (reviewed in the recent issue of The Last Straw); and Eco Nest: Creating Sustainable Sanctuaries of Clay, Straw and Timber by our keynote speaker Paula Baker-Laporte and her husband Robert Laporte -- all of which raised $180 for CASBA!

Private Home Tour, of two fabulous local strawbale gems.

Free samples of Step Forward paper made with 80% Wheat Straw,

A fabulous dance party featuring a local band (thanks Turko!).

WHEW! Don't you want to sign up for next year's conference immediately!!!!

CASBA is fiscally sponsored by the Tides Center, a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization.

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