Laura Bartels is an experienced builder, consultant and educator with over 15 years experience in the sustainable and natural building field. She was a pioneer in building the first permitted straw bale home in western Colorado in 1995. She has been a consultant to architects, contractors, schools and owners since 1997, offering services in feasibility, design, construction, moisture, plasters and project management issues for residential, school and commercial projects. She has worked on straw bale projects nationally and in Mexico.

“My love for beautiful, elegant, environmentally-responsible, high-performance buildings has been woven with my love of teaching and nature” says Bartels. With a background in natural sciences and environmental education, building a natural home for her family led her to helping others do the same, including overseeing the construction of the Waldorf School on the Roaring Fork's passive solar straw bale campus of over 22,000 sf in Carbondale, Colorado.

Laura is a regular instructor of sustainable and natural building with University of Colorado's Sustainable Practices Series and Solar Energy International. Having helped create the Straw Bale SAFE Homes Initiative (Sustainable, AFfordable and Efficient Homes) with the Intertribal Council on Utility Policy to address critical housing needs with climate neutral and community based technologies on tribal lands, she developed and teaches a straw bale construction train the trainers certificate program at Sinte Gleska Univesity at the Rosebud Indian reservation in South Dakota.

Presentations for national and international conferences as well as for architectural firms, schools and the public, including speaking at the first U.S. Congressional Briefing on straw bale construction, have helped to introduce high performance natural building in a larger context. Collaborative efforts such as with Builders Without Borders to construct a Straw Bale Ecohouse for the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, DC have brought increased awareness to the general public.

Laura also brings technical expertise to the field with her work in building science and the moisture properties of straw bale walls. GreenWeaver Inc. sells StrawSense moisture monitoring systems for straw bale walls. The systems have been installed in residential, school commercial and industrial projects throughout the US.

Laura serves on the Board of the Colorado Straw Bale Association and on the Advisory Boards of the Development Center for Appropriate Technology, Solar Energy International, Natural Building Network and Straw and Timber Craftsmen.

Copyright 2007 GreenWeaverInc and Laura Bartels