Straw Bale Eco Home

One of the First in the Islands

Sandy Bishop and Rhea Miller's home started construction in 1995 and was finished and moved into in 1998 making it was of the earliest Green Homes to be found in The San Juan Islands. Since the Home isn't located on a well, it is 100% rainwater catchment for all domestic water use. It is Straw Bale and Post and Beam Construction. One of the most interesting features of this home is it's Waste Water Garden that filters the homes Waste Water. 


Waste Water Garden

Wastewater Gardens are an environmentally-friendly approach to treating and recycling residential sewage, protecting the groundwater and greening the landscape. The ideal applications for Wastewater Gardens are for houses, businesses and communities which do not have connections to centralized sewage systems and must do on-site treatment and reuse. Essentially it's like having a man made wetland in your home that treats all of your sewage (Blackwater) and turns it into gray water suitable for gardening. Using specifically selected plants to filter out waste water. When you don't have a well on your property and use 100% rainwater catchment, using your resource wisely isn't just a good idea, it's a requirement!


Straw Bale Construction

This Eco Home is builtusing Straw Bale & Post and Beam construction. This functions as the primary building structure, as well as the home's insulation. Once framed and insulated, the house is covered with an all natural Earthen Plaster. This Plaster further insulates the home as well as functions as a weather and water barrier. The Picture on the left is called a "Truth Window" that shows off that it is in fact Straw Bale that is insulating the home. These Truth Windows are widely used in Green Building as one can never really see insulation of a home...especially when it's presenting or having a tour. This Truth Window has served an educational purposes for 2 decades.


360 "Virtual" Tour Video

Click Play Below and scroll in 360 degrees with your mouse


About the Builder

Sandy Bishop has served as Executive Director of LCLT for 13 years. She was a founding board member and the first executive director of the organization. She also served as project manager for three of the four CLT neighborhood developments, Morgantown, Coho and Common Ground. Her first affordable housing project was considered the premiere community land trust project on the west coast and was featured in the New York Times in 1993.  She has 17 years of project management for local community based developments and is the project manager of four affordable housing neighborhoods. She was honored during the 2010 GreenBuild Chicago conference as the winner of the Home Depot Award of Excellence for Affordable Housing Built Responsibly for her latest net-zero housing project Common Ground, a net-zero community utilizing earthen plaster, straw bale construction, rainwater catchment, solar hot water, and grid-tied solar. She has been the guest presenter at the National Housing Forum in New Zealand, Affordable Housing Conference on Hornby Island, BC, and the President’s Symposium on Sustainability at the University of Idaho


Rhea Miller has served over 10 years as County Commissioner of San Juan County, with an emphasis on environmental protection and sustainability in housing, agriculture, and people. She has a long history as a community organizer with international experience.  (See: Rhea was a founding member of the LCLT, and has provided countless hours of volunteer help, from painting trim for new construction to facilitating Board of Directors meetings, managing SARD interns, and writing for the newsletter. She also directed the LIFE farm to school program for a year. She has a special interest in indigenous spirituality, the new sciences and the building of community.  Rhea authored the book Cloudhand, Clenched Fist:  Chaos, Crisis, and the Emergence of Community