Straw-bale construction is a green building technique that uses bales of straw (wheat, oats, rice), to provide structural support to the building, insulation, or both. It was popular as a building method where bricks, mortar or other building materials were scarce and it is experiencing a resurgence today….
Straw, grass, and reeds have been used as building materials for centuries. Straw houses have been built on the African plains since the Paleolithic Era! Straw bales were used in construction 400 years ago in Germany; and straw-thatched roofs have long been used in northern Europe and Asia. Why did we ever stop using it for construction purposes?
Look at some of the advantages of straw-bale construction over conventional building systems; the renewable nature of straw, cost, easy availability, naturally fire-retardant and high insulation value. Disadvantages include susceptibility to rot and high space requirements for the straw itself.
Straw bales have been used in very energy efficient high performance buildings such as the S-House in Austria which meets the Passivhaus energy standard. Together with the Green.Building.Solutions. group we visited this house yesterday.
The whole concept and the sustainability performances of the S-House are remarkable and inspiring! To get back to my previous blog post about indoor quality… I don’t have any measurement instruments for objective judgement about the indoor air quality in the S-house. But I felt absolutely comfortable inside the house; both the smell of the air as the atmosphere were naturally fresh! It made me want to live in a house like this!! What do you think…. would straw bale building work within a city?