Monday, September 21, 2009

Straw Bale Building, Part II

Until recently, there have been two main approaches to building with straw bales. First, the straw bales can be the major structural element of the building—“load-bearing”—or a post and beam structure can be built and the straw bales used then as insulation.

There are advantages and disadvantages to each method of construction. Load-bearing straw bale walls are sufficient for residential construction, at least for smaller houses, but aren’t sufficiently strong for commercial houses.

Post and beam construction is strong enough for most types of structures (as strong as the posts and beams), but is more expensive to build.

In both types of construction, it’s important to have a good foundation and a good roof, preferably with wide overhangs, to prevent moisture from invading the structure. The straw bales are covered on the outside with stucco or plaster, usually on both the inside and outside of the building.

So far, straw bale houses are mostly a novelty and have mostly been built in the arid Southwest, but there are some new developments on the horizon that may lead to building more straw bale houses. Researchers, like the University of Bath who designed and is building the two story home pictured below, are working with prefabricated straw bale walls.
It’s sort of like tilt up cement construction, but lighter and with better thermal qualities.

I don’t know whether prefabricated straw bale homes will prove to be practical, but it’s an interesting idea.

1 comment:

  1. Hi,

    Good one on Straw Bale Building, Part II . If you are into home business and searching for ways to build your business on a budget the this free video at can help you.