Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Straw Bale Construction

Strawbale Building
      Sustainable, beautiful and low-impact –
Strawbale construction has to be one of the most sensible options for the future of the built environment. It’s affordable, available, sustainable and effective.
Straw bales incorporate a structurally strong building block with super-insulating properties. They can be built quickly and provide more cost-effective insulation than any other product, nearly three times more than Building Regulations require. Straw is also annually renewable, non-toxic, and safe: when compressed in a wall system, it is not a fire risk, as proved by international research, and with the BRE in the UK. 
Straw is surplus to requirements in most parts of the world, including in the UK where we produce 4 million tonnes annually. This could build a quarter of a million 3 bed roomed homes a year!  It’s simple, portable, cheap, beautiful, creative, flexible and FUN, and just about any of us can use it.  
It is a particularly relevant choice given the current debate on global warming – the construction industry and its associated transportation are responsible for over 50% of all greenhouse gas (CO2) produced annually. Using straw, because it is plant based, as a wall system locks up CO2 for the life of the building, resulting in a better than zero carbon footprint.
One third of all UK energy consumed annually is in domestic homes, and more than half of that goes on heating, so if we can reduce the amount of heating we need to do by making homes thermally efficient we will be making a huge contribution to reducing dependence on fossil fuels and the production of CO2.  Straw gives us the double advantage of reducing CO2 emissions and improving thermal efficiency. The greatest design challenge of this century is therefore in energy efficiency and sustainability, and straw is a near-perfect, responsible answer.
The current thinking is to use straw bales for the garage of the Riseley Eco House.
Information courtesy of amazonails® strawbale innovations

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