In response to our post on strawbale in Europe comes this fascinating story about a Californian city, Visalia, who has approved plans to build 2 police stations from the material. The design is for concrete block construction, surrounded by a shell of cement rendered strawbales. It is anticipated that with the region's Mediterranean-like climate that the insulation provided by the strawbales will reduce heating and cooling costs by up to 50%. When completed later this year, it's thought these will be the first strawbale police stations in California. A quick 'google' certainly didn't highlight any elsewhere, though we did find one with a green roof over in Maryland. More >In an article on the plans, we were informed that of the roughly million pounds (453,600 kg) of waste rice straw that California produces each year, only 5% is currently used for construction. And in a weird twist of fate, one of the architects responsible for the whole resurgence in buildings of strawbales, just happens to head the firm that submitted the plans for the Visalia police stations. Jon Hammond of Indigo Architecture had his strawbale cottage reviewed in a 1983 issue of Fine Homebuilding magazine. Indigo has as part of their mission statement the phrase, "We practice architecture that puts people in touch with their environment and with each other." How very appropriate for a police station. But just in case this 'in-touch' approach falters, the stations with strawbales walls will "provide ballistics and blast resistance." ::Visalia Police Stations Thanks to Tipster Jen P.