Red Feather Builds Affordable Straw Bale Homes
As the “Official Hand Tool Supplier” for the Red Feather Development Group, The Stanley Works has announced that it will be providing the national non-profit organization with an array of tools for building homes for American Indians as well as financial support for its ongoing efforts.
Headquartered in New Britain, Conn., The Stanley Works is a member of the National Council of the Housing Industry — the Supplier 100 of NAHB.
As part of its American Indian Sustainable Housing Initiative, Red Feather educates tribal members about sustainable construction techniques, community planning and how to create beautiful, super-insulated, affordable straw bale homes.
Of the 2.5 million tribal members living on America’s Indian reservations, 1.5 million are either homeless or living in over-crowded, substandard conditions. Many homes lack basic amenities such as water or electricity.
Red Feather also assists tribal members with the complicated mortgage process and collaborates with tribal housing authorities and mortgage companies to help individual households buy homes.
Red feather has worked with the federally recognized tribal nations of Pine Ridge in South Dakota, Muckelshoot in Washington, Crow and Northern Cheyenne in Montana, Turtle Mountain in North Dakota and Hopi in Arizona.
Straw-bale construction is used in the housing initiative for several reasons:
- As an agricultural waste product of wheat production, straw is plentiful, with the crop growing on thousands of acres of reservations in the Southwest and Northern Plains.
- Straw bale construction is user-friendly, enabling Indiana families, volunteers and community members to quickly become skilled enough to participate in building homes.
- Combined with volunteer labor and donated materials, Red Feather’s approach to home building enables it to realize costs savings of up to 60% over a traditionally contracted home.
- Residents realize significant savings in heating and cooling costs.
- There are many educational resources on straw bale construction methods, including Red Feather’s how-to book, “Building One House: A Handbook for Straw Bale Construction,” by Nathan Corum, the organization’s community design director.
- Straw bale construction qualifies for Department of Housing and Urban Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture and conventional home financing.
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