The Straw-Clay Book
Coming soon, the complete reference!

Lou with LSC model

window bevel drawing

Lou Host-Jablonski is in the midst of writing a book on light straw-clay practice & research, techniques & tips.

left: graphic showing air-sealing detail at a plastered window-bevel

The book will focused on the new system of light straw-clay making and framing described here on We'll delve into the science, de-bunk the myths, and describe best practices for cold USA climate zones that you won't find in other books.

Some of the topics we're featuring:

  • Recent history of light straw-clay, including Franz Volhard's historic investigation.
  • Straw and clay as basic building materials, and the direction of the current research.
  • Loam & Clay Science: sourcing and then refining loam on-site and in real-time for higher-performing walls.
  • Interactive nomograph showing how to choose proportions for your raw materials and goals.
  • Straw: growing and selecting construction-grade straw.
  • Characterization of "light" vs. "heavy" clay techniques.
  • Straw-clay with advanced and flexible framing techniques, with details of structural, shrinkage, blocking, bracing, air-sealing, and thermal break conditions.
  • On-site Practices; hard-pack, with formwork & reinforcing + 'loose-pack' techniques. Delivering & placing.
  • Foundation options: slab vs. basement; stone/rubble trench; ICFs, insulation & wheelcahir accessibility.
  • Water: condensation, drainage, frost, surface splash.
  • Light straw-clay: its global warming potential ('GWP' index) + matrix of various insulation materials.
  • Mixing the straw and loam; thinking through the physics and the engineering. Development of mixing systems and mechanical tumblers; quality control.
  • R-value comparisons: the density continuum; Bio-region-appropriate design strategies.
  • Physics of straw-clay wall vs. cavity wall / air-barrier / Humidity and phase change.

blind framing drawing