Paso Robles Wine Country Residence

Passive Solar Straw Bale Residence

Semmes and Co. Builders
photos by BJ Semmes


-Passive solar design for natural ventilation, passive heating and cooling and daylighting.

-Straw bale construction to conserve resources and divert waste.

-Native & drought tolerant landscape with preservation of existing coastal oak woodland.

Client: Individual

Completion: March 2002

Project Type: Custom Residential

Architects: Ken Haggard, Polly Cooper

Exterior Design

Exposed concrete floors throughout and thick plaster walls keep this groovy straw bale home comfy year-round. The use of locally-harvested wood perfectly complements this site, home of the largest Cypress tree in the San Luis Obispo County and the place of origin for the stones used at the Madonna Inn. A great deal of care was used in the process to preserve the 100-year-old plum tree in the entry that was and still is propped-up by an old piece of barn wood.

Interior Design

The passive solar design is heated when needed by a fireplace and skylights with shades that mechanically react to heat, allowing them to open for heating and to close for cooling.

Other Projects

Passive Solar


N. San Luis Obispo County



Atascadero, CA



San Luis Obispo, CA

Let's Build Something

We would love to talk to you about your project and discuss sustainable options to meet your needs.

15 + 15 =

Skip to content