Why Build With Straw Bales?
Straw bale construction lends itself well to an owner builder project. Some of the applications well suited for straw bale include: a cottage, office, garage, studio, and an art barn. You don’t have to limit yourself to these smaller projects. Thousands of people have successfully built their own straw bale house. As a world leader in straw bale education we want to help you every step of the way.
I’ve created a great introductory video on why to build with straw bales. You can watch that by clicking the play button below. Please read on for more reasons to build with straw bales!
Here are 7 great reasons why you should consider building your next house with Straw Bales:
Reason #1 Energy Efficiency.
A well built straw bale home can save you up to 75% on heating and cooling costs. In fact, in most climates, we do not even install air conditioning units into our homes as the natural cooling cycles of the planet are enough to keep the house cool all summer long.
Reason #2 Sound Proofing.
Straw bale walls provide excellent sound insulation and are superior wall systems for home owners looking to block out the sounds of traffic or airplanes in urban environments.
Reason # 3 Fire resistance.
Straw bale homes have roughly three times the fire resistance of conventional homes. Dense bales mean limited oxygen which in turn means no flames.
Reason # 4 Environmental responsibility.
Building with straw helps the planet in many ways. For example, straw is a waste product that is either burned or composted in standing water. By using the straw instead of eliminating it, we reduce either air pollution or water consumption, both of which impact the environment in general.
Reason #5 Natural Materials
The use of straw as insulation means that the standard insulation materials are removed from the home. Standard fiberglass insulation has formaldehyde in it, a known carcinogen. Bale walls also eliminate the use of plywood in the walls. Plywood contains unhealthy glues that can off-gas into the house over time.
Reason #6 Aesthetics
There is nothing as calming and beautiful as a straw bale wall in a home. Time and time again I walk people through homes and they are immediately struck by the beauty and the “feeling” of the walls. I really can’t explain this one, you’ll just have to walk through your own to see what I mean.
Reason #7 Minimize wood consumption.
If built as a load bearing assembly, the wood in the walls can be completely eliminated, except for around the windows. The harvesting of forests is a global concern and any reduction in the use of wood material is a good thing for the long term health of the planet.
Even infill bale homes can reduce the use of wood by using engineered lumber for the posts and beams. The engineered material uses smaller, faster growing trees in place of larger, slower growing species.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andrew Morrison has a passion for straw bale construction that is matched only by his desire to teach his knowledge to others. He has a wealth of experience in designing and building both conventional and straw bale homes. After years of building, he has moved his practice entirely to consulting and teaching. He shares his knowledge with thousands of people via his DVD series and this website and teaches roughly six-eight hands on workshops each year. For more on his workshops, please visit www.strawbale.com/store/category/workshops. Andrew received a BA degree from Hampshire College in 1995 for Glacial Geology. He also has a degree in construction technology.
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