Naturita is the first library in Colorado (and the second in the US) to use straw bale construction. They’ve even glassed over part of the 14 inch thick wall to show people the layers of straw and mudded straw with plastic lathe in between, the scratch coat which uses adobe soil from the site, the top coat of mud and straw, and the finish.
The outside is lime plaster mixed with sand and crushed glass, then lime, and a lime wash which actually absorbs carbon dioxide.
Despite what the Three Little Pigs fable implies, straw bale is a sturdy construction method which multiplies the insulation properties of typical walls. And this isn’t all that’s green about the library – using the temperature of the earth below, the GeoExchange heating and cooling system should save the library a third of its energy costs. And they even use recycled blue jeans for insulation.
Part of the Montrose (CO) Regional Library District, at 500 square feet, the old Naturita library was one of the smallest in Colorado. At 4,400 square feet, the new library will have a much larger collection (funded in part by money they’ve saved building with straw) and a community meeting room, giving the locals an alternative to meeting at a bar. And now, they’ll actually be able to hold programs and storytimes inside!
The library cost 1.26 million to build and was funded by an Energy and Mineral Impact Assistance grant, taxes and foundation monies. Residents had a chance to inspect the facility on August 7th. Tours were given and there was a community barbecue with live music afterwards. And of course their book cart drill team showed off their best moves.
For more details, listen to the interview with Paul Paladino, the District’s director (do a search on Naturita).