Everyone is required to stay home, except for essential needs. When out, protect yourself and those around you by wearing a face covering, staying 6 feet away from others, and washing your hands often. Learn more at cityofberkeley.info/covid19. City offices are closed to the public. Some services are available remotely.

The City of Berkeley Health Officer has ordered all residents to shelter at home, leaving only to receive or provide essential services, starting 12:01 am on Tuesday, March 17. See details of the Order, frequently asked questions, and recommendations from Berkeley Public Health at https://www.cityofberkeley.info/coronavirus.

City Council Live Stream: Please visit https://www.cityofberkeley.info/CalendarEventWebcastMain.aspx

ZAB Live Stream: Please visit http://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/Commissions/Zoning_Adjustment_Board_Meeting_-_Video_Stream.aspx.

The City of Berkeley web site is undergoing scheduled maintenance starting on Friday night, September 13 and ending on Saturday afternoon, September 14. During this time, most web pages should be available, but some resources may become unavailable for short periods of time.

Looking for a live stream of the Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) meeting on 5/9/19, at 7:00pm? Please visit https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1UAnZ8kU8EWllREyOY7rwQ/. The normal viewing methods will not work this time due to a concurrent City Council Special Meeting at the same time.

Looking for a live stream of the Zoning Adjustments Board (ZAB) meeting on 2/28/19, from 6:00 to 11:00 PM? Please visit http://www.cityofberkeley.info/Clerk/Commissions/Zoning_Adjustment_Board_Meeting_-_Video_Stream.aspx. The normal viewing methods will not work this time due to a concurrent City Council Special Meeting at the same date and time.

PG&E is reporting a widespread outage affecting thousands of customers in Berkeley and many City buildings, including the Finance Customer Service Center and the Permit Service Center. Call respective City services for further details, or check the PG&E outage page. Power is expected to return by 12:45pm. Traffic lights that are not working should be treated as a four-way stop sign.

Translation Disclaimer

Berkeley Waterfront
Berkeley Waterfront


Straw Bale Building Nature Center's Home of the New Millennium 

   The Berkeley Marina Experience Program staff has  an environmentally sensitive building made out of straw bales and recycled and salvaged materials. Built in 2004

    Interested in green building? Plan on doing a remodel or get a new kitchen floor? Come see what it can look like here first. Teachers, bring your green building classes; we have tours and watch our video on how it was built.  We have hosted representatives from India, China, and Russia. Visitors are enthralled and inspired to learn more about products they can use in their homes and businesses. If you'd like  more information  about the environmental features, visit this  page: For the information about the products used in the building of the building

The programs in the new building teach children about the ecology of their estuary, watershed, and the Bay, while the building's construction  serves as a model for the entire community on environmentally conscious building practices.  As a significant and accessible project, this building  showcases resource efficient and waste -minimization practices and heightens awareness about alternative building techniques.  For photos of the process 

The primary building material for this project is rice straw bales, a waste byproduct of the agricultural industry.  The building design is 860 square feet of interior space with an additional 450 square feet covered outdoor patio classroom.  The plans include an option for expansion as needed.  The bottom bales are enclosed in a water-resistant sheath.  2 foot by 20 ft "belts" strap the bales down to reinforce the walls and stucco is  over the entire structure, inside and out.   Straw bale buildings are durable.  Houses in Nebraska are still standing 100 years after construction.  The building is fire resistant and provides exceptional insulation, saving heating and cooling costs throughout the year.   Recycled or salvaged material was used for foundations, framing, roofing, doors, and cabinetry.  A team of professionals Dan Smith and Associates www.dsaarch.com and Van Mechelen Architects  http://vanmechelenarchitects.com  have worked together on the building design and construction.  

The need for coming up with alternative building materials is well documented.  Forests in the world are declining, lumber costs are high, construction and demolition waste accounts for 20-25% of solid landfill volume. The Shorebird Nature Center's new building is a showcase for waste reducing practices and recycled content materials.  We  show students, teachers, and the general public that we are practicing what we preach, and we are incorporating concepts from the construction of this building into our educational programs.  Rice straw bales--the primary building material,  unlike many other agricultural byproducts, do not decompose quickly under natural conditions.  Farmers have had little choice but to burn the leftover material.  Over a million tons of rice straw are burned annually in California, releasing 47,000 tons of carbon monoxide into the atmosphere.  As the State of California  has mandated phasing out the traditional burning, rice growers in California must find alternative disposal methods.   Straw bale buildings are a natural way to alleviate this problem. There is increasing interest in alternative construction in the media and the general public: straw bale buildings have recently been featured in national and local media.  Since there are no public straw bale buildings in the Bay Area, our new building is an excellent resource for teaching school children and the community about alternative building techniques. 

We received grant monies from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories, Department of Energy, West Berkeley Foundation, Alameda Country Waste Management Authority and Source Reduction and Recycling Board, City of Berkeley- Recycled Plastics Grant, City of Berkeley General Fund, Builders Bookstore,  Strong Foundation,  Home Depot and individual contributions. 
 We  received product donations from:
Floor Dimensions- installed and cut the wonderful mosaic in the natural linoleum floors.
Berkeley Shade Company donated Solar Screen shades- "Sheer weave" for the windows in the office. 510- 841-3171 

For more information on Green building contact:

Contact the FREE Ask An Expert hotline for answers to your green building questions: www.BuildItGreen.org
and find Source green building products through the Green Materials Database

 If you would be interested in making a tax-deductible contribution, please contact program coordinator Anthony DeCicco at (510)981-6720 To get back into the Marina Experience web pages click here
shorebird nc products for materials used in the building.

Home | Web Policy | Text-Only Site Map | Contact Us
Berkeley Waterfront, 201 University Ave, Berkeley, CA 94710
Questions or comments? Email: marina@cityofberkeley.info Phone: (510) 981-6740
(510) 981-CITY/2489 or 311 from any landline in Berkeley
TTY: (510) 981-6903