This unique pre-fab, straw bale, 800 SF portable classroom project was built for the Westwood Public School, Willow Road, Guelph (for the Upper Grand District School Board). Created by Ben Polley & Chris Vander Hout of Evolve Builders, based in Guelph, this is a special building where it was pre-assembled off-site in 2 halves and then shipped by truck to the site and put in place, functioning after only a week or so of onsite building. The finished photograph here is of the Rockwood Elementary School Portable which was the original prototype. This design is meant to be offered to school boards across Ontario as a healthy and sustainable alternative & greening initiative. The in-construction photographs are of the Westwood Public School portable taken in November & December 2013.
” Building with bales limits many of the indoor air quality problems experienced with the old-style conventionally-built portable classrooms, and passive solar design and renewable energy features makes our “eco-portable classrooms” a much more sustainable option for the health of both our students and the planet.” – Ben Polley, Harvest Homes
Albeit this was designed as a classroom building, we think this is a great idea for creating a start-up building on a new piece of land for much less than the cost of beginning from scratch. With an additional foundation and adding interior partitions, kitchen, washroom and a simple wood stove, you could likely start with a 1000 SF, 2 bedroom house, for about $150,000, give or take, depending on how resourceful and DIY you might be in creating the interiors & finishing touches yourself. Over time, you could add a front porch or another addition, as your expenses could allow; keeping any initial mortgage amount owing, as low as possible. These ideas are part of the Homesteading, Self-Sufficient Living ideas that I am constantly considering these days. If this direction interests you, please let me know and we can discuss this together with Ben!
Contact me directly at Ingrid@somaearth.com!
Unique Sustainable Classroom Portable Features
All photographs are by Chris Vander Hout of Evolve Builders.