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Queen's University

Maria Offin


Educational Background:
Master of Science in Electrical Engineering from St.Petersburg State Technical University, St.Petersburg, Russia.  Maria completed her MES degree in January 2010.

Project Title:
Straw Bale Construction: Assessing and Minimizing Embodied Energy

Research Topic/Project description:
Straw bale construction is rapidly gaining popularity amongst homeowners interested in sustainable building.In the 1980s straw bale was rediscovered as a method of construction by people looking to get away from the expense and environmental impact of conventional housing.
The ultimate goal of my research is to promote straw bale construction in Ontario province by providing more information on already existing houses and identifying the best and most durable practices for straw bale construction in Ontario. In order to accomplish that I will be contacting the homeowners of straw bale houses in the province to ask them questions about durability and overall performance of their houses.
A second point of interest in this research is a comparison of the embodied energy used to build a straw bale house with embodied energy of a conventional wood frame house that will provide a defensible assessment of the environmental benefits of straw bale construction. This will hopefully result in more environmentally concerned homebuilders making their choice in favour of this type of construction.

Supervisors/advisors: Dr. Colin MacDougall, Dr. Caroline Baillie

SGS Feature Article 

My current occupation is my photography. It is not Environmental Studies, but I am still proud of it. I call it Maria Offin Photography (

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