EcoNest: Creating Sustainable Sanctuaries of Clay, Straw, and Timber


By: Paula Baker-Laporte and Robert Laporte, Gibbs Smith, 2005



A bird builds its nest using the materials at hand to create a perfect shelter. It doesn’t fly to the next state for twigs or build a bigger home that it needs. Instinctively, it creates an environment that is nurturing and non-toxic. Like the bird, humans desire shelter that is cozy and nurturing, that satisfies the soul, mind, and body. This is what you find when you step into an EcoNest.

Beginning with a timber frame structure and walls created with a mix of clay and straw, EcoNest: Creating Sustainable Sanctuaries of Clay, Straw and Timber describes a unique method of green building that avoids the typical problems involved with conventional building, such as industrial waste, excessive chemical usage, and inefficient synthetic insulation. Design details such as which direction a home is oriented, what kind of lighting illuminates each room, and whether or not there is a step-down entryway are a vital part of creating each EcoNest.

Meet the homeowners of ten different EcoNests around the country in regions as diverse as Iowa, Minnesota, New Mexico and California who chose to build in appreciation of the harmony and beauty of nature, using nature’s resources so as to consume less energy, create less waste, nurture their health and enrich their senses.

EcoNest invites you to experience a healthy and sustainable kind of building, avoid the pitfalls of modern homes and acute chemical sensitivity, and to live simply, in harmony with nature.

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