Ohio home uses straw and mud to become energy efficient

Akron, Ohio homeowner Patricia Maher is more worried about saving money on her energy bill than the fact that her home now shares a building material with one of the ill-fated homes from the Three Little Pigs fable.

This blog often reports on different materials that are used to make energy-efficient homes, but never before has a home that uses straw and mud as prominent fixtures of a property been discussed. But, Maher's home used 350 bales of hay as insulation and mud to finish the walls.

"The straw thing was very hard," Maher told Akron's ABC affiliate. "The bales are not easy to maneuver. We had to make sure they were in the walls correctly."

Maher's home is being built from scratch with energy-efficiency in mind. It will boast energy-efficient windows, a wood pellet stove and a reflecting metal roof, all to try to cut energy costs. The project is being led by Kent State University architecture professor Joseph Ferut, who wanted to design a home using archaic techniques, while still allowing it to fit in with other homes in the neighborhood.

Energy-efficient heating and insulation will allow the home to spend about $300 annually in heating costs, which is close to the price a normal household pays for winter heating in one month.

Whether builders choose to use old or new techniques to promote energy efficiency, it is a goal that should be highly sought after. Existing homes may need to be upgraded with efficient energy use in mind, but remodeling should not be a problem if a homeowner has a reliable home inspection service on his or her side. A Washington, D.C. home inspector can lead an energy audit to find areas in the home that can be enhanced.