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Terra Corazon

(Valley Center)

This newly completed single-family custom home and ADU is made from post-and-beam strawbale construction. The bales of wheat straw and clay plaster work together to make a natural, non-toxic, super-insulated wall system that sequesters carbon and resists wildfires. Land use is maximized by housing two families on one property with shared infrastructure. The relatively compact footprints requires less energy and materials to construct, and the emphasis on low embodied-energy materials means that these buildings consume less energy and emit less carbon during construction. Bio-based carbon-sequestering strawbales lock up carbon in the walls, creating a carbon sink while providing R-30 super-insulation from an up-cycled agricultural waste product. The super-insulated envelopes with attention to air-tightness, solar reflectance, and distributed thermal mass means the homes will require less energy to stay comfortable year-round. The homes feature orientation for passive cooling with shading along the south sides and natural ventilation to prevent overheating. The homes are all-electric and feature mini-split heat pump heating systems, heat pump water heater, LED lighting and a solar system that covers all their needs and more. Homes include a whole-house greywater reuse system directed to plantings in the yard. The project currently incorporates 7,875 gallons (soon to be 17,975!) of rainwater catchment as well as sophisticated earthworks to reduce runoff and sink rainwater into the ground directly. The property was previously an unsustainable avocado grove, which is now being transformed into a regenerative permaculture farm and demonstration site.

Photo Credit: Simple Construct