Maximum Kick with Minimum Impact: Explorations of Low Carbon Building Systems

Learn about residential projects by Anni Tilt and David Arkin that they made using alternative building systems. See pros and cons of each of the different systems.


Anni Tilt AIA and David Arkin AIA, LEED AP will present several of their residential projects, featuring a wide variety of alternative building systems. Foremost among these is straw-bale construction. Other examples include rammed earth and PISE (sprayed earth), watershed block (earth masonry units), lime and clay plasters, wood, hempcrete, and light straw clay. They will highlight the pros and cons of working with these systems, including the embodied carbon footprint of each. Integration of renewable energy systems, rainwater catchment and other sustainable techniques will be included as well.

Presented as a part of the CRAN Symposium 2016.

Learning objectives

  • Explore the 100+ year-old history of bale buildings and the ecological benefits of using straw bales for construction;
  • Know the difference between straw and hay, and what key properties make bales appropriate for building;
  • Understand several different low embodied carbon building systems options, and their pros and cons;
  • Recognize the carbon sequestering potential of earth, wood and straw buildings for future project consideration.
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 $50  non-member
 $35  member
1.50 LUs
  • HSW
  • RIBA


  • David Arkin


    Principal Architect | Arkin Tilt Architects

    David is one of the founders and current Director of the California Straw Building Association (...
  • Anni Tilt


    Principal Architect | Arkin Tilt Architects

    Anni worked for eight years with internationally-acclaimed Fernau and Hartman Architects, and DEGW...