Strawbale demo home 10th anniversary open house Sept 21

Designer and original resident Ben Polley, will be visiting Home Alive! – The House that Thinks, Drinks and Breathes as part of a special anniversary open house in celebration of 10 years since its doors opened at its permanent site as part of Everdale Farm.

Ben hopes that anyone who ever hucked a bale, sewed a stitch, swung a hammer or otherwise helped with this house will come too. And if you have never before visited Home Alive! then this will be your lucky day!

Guided tours will highlight once-unique products that today find routine acceptance and expose others that failed to live up to promises or never caught the public’s imagination.

Featured widely in regional and national media during its groundbreaking opening a decade ago, Home Alive! was designed by Ben Polley, founder of Harvest Homes and sibling Evolve Builders Group Inc. Its intent was to foster a new awareness that environmental responsibility was within the reach of the average homeowner without upsetting expectations of comfort or aesthetics. Polley’s goal was that visitors discover just one feature that would spark their imagination and that they might integrate into their own homes.

“Some of Home Alive!’s components that were rare 10 years ago but today find increasing success are its strawbale walls, green roof, and fiberglass framed windows. Others like tankless hot water heaters, composite siding, cork tiles and bamboo plank flooring are now commonly found in big box stores” says Polley adding that such items had to be specially sourced not so long ago. “Still others, like compact florescent lights have become ordinary and themselves are already being replaced by advances in LED lighting.”

Among other features you can see and touch at Home Alive! are an engineered wetland greywater system, composting toilet, rainwater harvesting system for all potable and non-potable uses, roof-integrated photovoltaics, small scale wind turbine, natural wood finishes, mineral based paints, solar hot water, composite siding and more.

Not all materials’ promises were fulfilled. A fibreboard formed of straw proved useful in the home but was not a commercial success and its domestic manufacturer is no longer in operation. The open house provides a retrospective look at the good, the not so good and the long forgotten, 10 years on.

Want to (virtually) see more about the making of Home Alive!  Have some stories, pictures or annecdotes to share about your memory of Home Alive? Check out or add more fun stuff to our Facebook site!Don’t do Facebook, then give a read of our dedicated Home Alive! page at our sister biz, Harvest Homes’ website.