Sunday, October 16, 2005

Straw-Bale Construction Basics

Straw-bale construction produces an exceptionally unique home unmatched by other building methods. Strawbale homes are safe, warm, quiet, and environmentally friendly. One of the primary benefits of building with straw bales is the lower utility costs over the life of the building. The U.S. Department of Energy in document #SD-240 states "Straw bale building technology offers the best energy performance of any of the new construction typologies being considered." This amounts to thousands of dollars in energy savings over the life of the building, which is particularly helpful to families struggling to afford a home. And, as world resources become increasingly scarce, we need to make every reasonable effort to protect our environment.

Advantages of strawbale:
• Excellent insulation (saving energy is the main advantage)
• Durable (some strawbale houses have lasted over 100 years)
• Fire resistance (once plastered, strawbale houses are more fire resistant than wood-framed houses)
• Environmentally friendly (use local resources and save our forests!)
• Owner-builder friendly (if you build small and use a relatively simple design)
• Low cost (if you build simply and do most of the work yourself, otherwise expect to pay the typical going rate for homes in your area)
• Insect and rodent resistance (once plastered)

Recommended resources:
Straw-bale Construction, by Bruce King

House of Straw – Straw-bale Construction Comes of Age

The Big Picture: Strawbale Trends and Defining "Eco-Sensible" Design, by Sigi Koko

The Last Straw