We are a sustainable business. We are committed to the environment, raising
awareness of ecologically sound practices in new building, encouraging and allowing
people to enjoy nature, encouraging responsible economic development of the
community, eco-friendly travel, supporting native artisans and professionals.
Using straw bale to build this eco-lodge is our innovative best practice. When we did
our research we found few eco-friendly retreats created from straw bale. We realized
the importance of not only building the vacation lodge out of straw bale to help the
environment but also for the crucial purpose of educating others about this great
environmentally friendly building source. “Natural building utilizes minimally
processed, nontoxic materials and systems used appropriately for the climate, site
and intended use. It incorporates primarily natural materials rather than high
embodied energy, processed commercial materials, with a focus on getting these
natural materials from as local a source as possible-ideally, from the building site
itself.” Taken from www.designbuildlive.org on February 18, 2008
|Innovative Best Practices
|We purchase art work from local artisans and donate a portion of profits to The
Indian Arts and Crafts Association (IACA) www.iaca.com a consortium who works to
protect Native American artisans. We also donate a portion of profits to the Heritage
Museum of the Texas Hill Country; this museum supports local economic
development, and displays and protects the diversity and heritage of the Texas Hill
Country, from its first inhabitants-the dinosaurs, to Native Americans and other
immigrant communities in this region. www.heritage-museum.info
|Social and Cultural Impact
|We built this lovely retreat out of straw. Straw has functional use as a building
material past its usual life cycle. It can be used to insulate the walls of buildings,
retains heat in the winter and keeps the interior cool in the summer. This keeps both
heating and cooling costs down. Thus our reliance upon traditional energy sources is
much lower. Also, since the straw already served a use, this is its second use in the
Straw bale House. By doing this the life cycle of the resource is extended.
Furthermore, we required fewer new materials to build the eco-friendly lodge than we
would otherwise require and lowered our carbon foot print because we did not
contribute to the traditional overproduction and consumption cycle that damages the
Next, we use this lodge as an education tool. During construction, we invited
university students and those interested in learning about sustainable building
construction to take part in laying the straw bales and ask questions of the resident
expert straw bale builder Mr. Herb Nordmeyer. We also continue to make the house
available to people who want to learn more about sustainable building practices and
use the space for instructional purposes. You can see pictures of our straw house by
checking us out as well and find out about sustainable building at the Straw bale
association of Texas website. www.designbuildlive.org
In addition, we use environmentally friendly cleaning supplies, recycle, use low
energy light bulbs and low energy appliances.
Finally, we contribute to conservation efforts and protect the wildlife on our property.
Visitors can spot the deer that graze on the property undisturbed as well as the road
runners and a number of birds. We donate a portion of all profits to the Texas Hill
Country Conservancy who buys land in Texas to protect it from development.
www.hillcountryconservancy.org. We are also in the process of applying to be a
Texas Wild Scapes sanctuary for indigenous wild life and plant life.
|Ecological Environmental Impact
We did not stop there. We aim to create a sanctuary at Strawmanor and provide a
small market place for local practitioners of yoga, meditation, massage and spa
services. Guests are invited to book yoga and spa services in advance with a
select group of local practitioners and we thereby contribute to economic
development of the local community by expanding their market place, while
decreasing environmental degradation by giving them an environmentally friendly
place to work.