isay asks …

Congratulation on making progress. Was wondering if you had at any point considered straw bale building and if you had any thoughts on that as a material for use in Victoria? I’ve been rather keen on exploring that idea myself but at the current moment the only thing I might be building would be a cardboard box.

Well, hopefully it’s a recycled cardboard box 😛

Straw bale has some wonderful advantages:

  • It can be built by an owner builder
  • there are numerous courses and resources available for support
  • insulation values of R-30 or greater
  • aesthetic and practical design elements due to the thick (45cm) walls
  • Every window has a window seat
  • Straw bales have a low-embodied energy
  • Straw bales are 100% biodegradable – so if the house needs to be torn down, it can easily be recycled back into the land.
  • bales are dense and tend to just smolder when the ignition source is removed, making them a flame retardant material

That said, the reasons I have swept aside are:

  • The same amount of timber is required as conventional homes
  • The overall square footage of the house is larger and a large proportion is unusable as it is wall space
  • maintenance — especially to ensure that no roof leaks occur and that the rendering doesn’t expose the straw to moisture
  • There are rumours of wolves trying to blow straw houses down … but no hard evidence has yet been brought forward to substantiate these porkies.

So, there you are — the good and the bad of straw bales as I see it. 

Hope that helps!

 

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