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!