Share Your Straw Bale House Experience

Written by Andrew Morrison

Wine Creek straw bale residence
Wine Creek Residence – Photo by JD Peterson

If you have a straw bale house and are willing to share your experience with an international, architectural master program, then please fill out the questionnaire below. Rasmus and Laurynaus are both students in Denmark completing their master thesis who are looking for input. I hope you can help build this important data base. The questionnaire is open until December 15, 2015.

See below for more information.

Dear Sustainable Sources,

We are Rasmus and Laurynas both students at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and currently finishing a master program in Architectural Engineering in energy efficiency study line. The master thesis is about straw bale and light straw/clay houses. The study has to do with monitoring 3 houses, document the differences and similarities concerning indoor climate and energy consumption.

The second part – where your help will be much in need – is to release a questionnaire around the globe to owners of such houses and identify common solutions in optimizing the indoor climate (concerning the climate zones and such factors). The idea is to create guidelines for people not to repeat the same mistakes, where problems could be avoided in the early stages of the construction. For this survey we are going to need as many house owners (of straw bale or light straw/clay houses) as possible.

The deadline for filling in the survey is the 15th of December.

To this point I would like to ask you, if you could help with the distribution of the questionnaire? You could share the link directly to the house owners or maybe post it as a thread in your webpage. Here is the link to the questionnaire, it seems rather large but it can be answered as a short version as well.





Any help will be useful and appreciated. Afterwards, the guidelines will be used as open source, why not on your webpage.

Thank you in advance. Friendly greetings.

Rasmus Gonnsen ([email protected])

Laurynas Marcincus ([email protected])

5 Responses

  1. You mention rodents in your Faq-what about insects that may already be present in the straw-is that an issue of concern?

  2. Insects are not typically an issue; however, they have been known to pop up from time to time. I’ll give you the worst case scenario that I know of. The biggest trouble maker is the psocid or book lice. They are known to come in with the straw and then have explosions in population growth after plastering because of the moisture added to the walls. They do not cause harm, but the millions of teeny tiny bugs is bothersome nonetheless. They don’t last long and once the walls dry out, they never come back. They are not common, but they do exist. If you have sustained issues with psocids, they are actually telling you that you have moisture problems in your walls since they cannot survive without the moisture. They are helping you trouble shoot a potential problem in your home! In general though, bugs are not an issue at all in bale homes.

  3. When I stacked my bales, I heavily sprinkled diatomaceous earth (I used a pasta storage tube with a closable rotating lid that allows one to measure varying amounts of spaghetti) between each layer. Insect larvae won’t survive in this environment. Just a possible tool for successful straw bale construction. 🙂

  4. Hi Andrew, I am happy with Jeanette’s post as we are about to build a straw bale house near Nairobi in Kenya and I worry about the termites. I have read in a number of places that diatomaceous earth is the way to go, so I have bought 3 sacks from the mine. Lets hope it works!!

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