straw-bale-houses

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Poula-Line built her straw bale home in Fri & Fro ecovillage in Egebjerg, Denmark. It’s one of a collection of unique straw bale homes in the village. Her home was inspired by a conch shell she found on a beach in Malaysia.

Poula is a certified permaculturist with lots of knowledge in all of the stages of natural building. She offers WWOOFers opportunities to join her to learn about organic food production and natural building.

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A striking example of a straw bale house in the mountains of southern Colorado. Designed by boulder architects Gettliffe Architecture. 

Straw bale building offers unique design opportunities, with the use of natural materials and a relatively sustainable construction process. We love straw bale for its thermal stability (high mass and insulation value), compostability, and the fact that it is often a locally available agricultural byproduct.

Though straw walls might be most readily linked to a story of pigs making questionable construction choices, the team behind these homes says the material could help to sustainably meet housing demand.

The homes are the result of an engineering research project led by the University of Bath.

The researchers worked with specialist architectural firm Modcell.

The team says this development should move building with straw from a niche technique for the ecologically minded to the wider market.

The houses, on a street of traditional brick-built homes in Bristol, are clad in brick to fit in with the surroundings. But their prefabricated walls are timber framed, filled with straw bales and encased in wooden boards.

Prof Pete Walker from the University of Bath, who led the project to develop and test this construction method, told BBC News: “I think there’s a lot of misconception about using straw - stories about the three little pigs and the big bad wolf, concerns about fire resistance.”

As part of this EU-funded project, Prof Walker and his colleagues have systematically tested and refined the technology - including testing its structural and weight-bearing properties, and its thermal insulation.

"Our testing over a number of years, and our research has demonstrated that it is a robust and safe form of construction."

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One of the straw bale homes at Friland in Denmark with a green roof. More natural homes to see on their website at www.dr.dk/DR2/Friland/ (in Danish). Our thanks to by Karen Eliot for this photo.

This is Ziggy’s house at Dancing Rabbit ecoVilage. Ziggy grows strawberries on his roof. Find out more about Ziggy’s green roof here: www.small-scale.net/yearofmud/2010/08/21/the-one-year-report-life-in-a-cob-house/ Ziggy has written a book too www.naturalhomes.org/book-cob.htm#the-year-of-mud —                                                                   

The Faerie House green roof on a clay and lime plastered straw bale house. Lots of pictures about this magical place at www.faeriehouse.tithefarm.biz  —  

This little cob cottage, hiding in the Canadian woods, is as much a work of art as it is a home. Sunlight peeps in to the cottage through recycled car windshields, bottles and a recycled skylight and at night candles provide pools of light around a wood stove. It’s one of the homes built by the Mud Girls [www.mudgirls.ca] who you can see here sitting on the green roof. You can see the cottage in candle light if you follow this link. The pictures are about two thirds of the way down the page: www.mudgirls.ca/Site/blog.html  

This is a home built by Kirsten Klibo in Torup ecoVillage [www.torup-by.dk] in Denmark. She described wanting a home that, “was able to breath had soft shapes and was built with 100% natural materials”. It’s an untypical design with interior cob walls wrapped with exterior straw bales. More pictures in the future from this beautiful place.

What is it that makes this building so attractive? Possibly the climbing plants around the door and its connection to the earth [See patterns No.246 and No.168www.naturalhomes.org/fbr.pattern]. This straw bale garden room in East Meredith, NY, USA was built by Sita Sanders as a college project. Sita was straw bale builder Clark Sanders’ [www.clarksandersdesignbuild.com] partner.


I WANT TO BUILD ONE

New Post has been published on http://www.tinyhouseliving.com/cheap-efficient-straw-bale-dome-home/

Cheap & Efficient Straw Bale Dome Home

…this is a fun project and if it will survive the winter, then we will start working on a bigger and better house. Overall this is really a cheap, easy to build and efficient house type.” – Jetijs

See and read more about this Green, cheap and efficient straw bale dome home

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Straw bale cabin

This small cabin in a rural area of central Chile uses little energy and has a low carbon footprint. AATA Arquitectos designed the cabin, opting for a two level floor plan to minimize the site impact. The cabin takes the shape of a cube that is 5.4 m (17’9″) on each side.

The walls were wood-framed and then insulated on the outside with straw bales coated with mud. Straw bales are a readily available local material and provide a very high level of insulation. The straw bale walls were then covered with sheets of clear polycarbonate, accented by bands of corrugated zinc at the top and bottom.

via smallhousebliss.com

Fairytale science

Huff off: Straw houses are stronger than you were told… 

aterials science is everywhere, and you’ve been learning about it for longer than you’d think.

The first little pig built his house out of straw; the second out of sticks; but it was the cunning third pig, a bricklayer, who taught us all an important lesson about materials selection. In reality, however, the Big Bad Wolf would have dizzied and passed out long before first house succumbed to his huffs and puffs.

Straw houses have been built since the Paleolithic Era on the African plains, and have seen spikes in popularity since – the invention of the mechanical hay baler saw a straw-bale construction craze towards the end of the 19th century, and more recently there has been something of a revival, as alternative materials are considered to improve sustainability.

Straw is an excellent insulator. On top of that it’s cheap, easily available and – an increasingly important word ­– sustainable. The BaleHaus at the University of Bath, which was opened by Kevin McCloud in 2009, was built as a research project in collaboration with industrial partner ModCell, using straw and hemp bale panels. This nifty short video explains the basic principle.

As well as demonstrating fantastic thermal and acoustic performance, in a simulation using hydraulic jacks, the BaleHaus was successfully tested for its resistance to hurricane-force wind levels up to 193kph (120mph). That’s a big set of wolf lungs.

You dropped something: This flamboyant chap had better watch his step – that doesn’t look like toughened glass to me… 

In a more tongue-in-check scientific evaluation of fairytale lore, Antariksh Bothale, a mechanical engineer in Bombay, asked ‘What qualities would the glass in Cinderella’s slippers need to have in order for her to walk and dance comfortably (and hold her weight)?’

Bothale’s investigation is a bit of fun, but an impressively thorough one. He considers the yield strengths of different forms of glass compared with the comparative stresses that would develop in the material under Cinderella’s estimated maximum weight of 50kg.

Bending glass: Assuming her stepping angle is around 30°, Bothale claims only half of Cinderella’s weight (500 sin 30) would act in the normal direction of the heel…

His studies accounted for the bending that would be applied to her heel causing compressive stress, the increased impact force when she runs out of the castle as midnight approaches… after contemplating all of this and more, Bothale settled on thermally toughened glass to take Cinders to the ball, recommending that she stick to a toe-first foot strike. Take a look at his full assessment here – it even sparked some comment-based debate.

By Simon Frost

Retrofitting a Home With Straw Bale Construction, Part 1

By Cadmon Whitty

I live in a home that now has very thick, slightly undulating walls, and deep window wells where my wife grows beautiful plants. It is incredibly energy-efficient: It’s warm in winter and cool in the summer, and my gas and electric bills are a fraction of what they used to be. [Keep reading…]

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This timber frame straw bale tiny house is about 500 sq. ft. inside with two levels which makes it great for a small family, couple, or even a single person. A great choice if you want to go ‘simple’ and ‘small’ but want a little bit of room to grow.

Once you walk inside you can see the amazing handmade spiral staircase. You can tell there’s a really warm feeling inside. The floors are made from reclaimed wood, it feels spacious inside, and it has an artistic touch throughout (see below).

Built with lots of insulation so it’s easy to keep warm. Lots of natural and reclaimed materials throughout. Very artistic. There’s an 8×12 tool shed and a cob pizza oven with a 5×5 cover above it. This straw bale home even has a living roof and it sits on a concrete pier foundation. There’s absolutely no drywall or plywood used to build this home.

Learn more, see more pictures, and consider buying it (it’s for sale): http://www.theyearofmud.com/natural-homes-for-sale/timber-frame-straw-bale-house-sale/

Related

Family Man Builds Natural Straw Bale Home for $4,627
A Small ‘Hobbit’ House in Texas
Resources

http://www.theyearofmud.com/natural-homes-for-sale/timber-frame-straw-bale-house-sale/

More Straw Bale Building: A Complete Guide to Designing and Building with Straw

More Straw Bale Building: A Complete Guide to Designing and Building with Straw
Straw bale houses are easy to build, affordable, super energy efficient, environmentally friendly, attractive, and can be designed to match the builder’s personal space needs, esthetics and budget. Despite mushrooming interest in the technique, however, most straw bale books focus on “selling” the dream of straw bale building, but don’t adequately address the most critical issues faced by bale house builders. Moreover, since many developments in this field are recent, few books are completely up to date with the latest techniques. More Straw Bale Building is designed to fill this gap. A completely rewritten edition of the 20,000-copy best—selling original, it leads the potential builder through the entire process of building a bale structure, tackling all the practical issues: finding and choosing bales; developing sound building plans; roofing; electrical, plumbing, and heating systems; building code compliance; and special concerns for builders in northern climates. New material includes: more extensive sections on electric wiring and plumbingupdated sections on bale finishes and finishinga section on prefabricated straw bale wallsa wider selection of case studies, photographs and illustrationsa section on common mistakesbudgeting for low-, medium- and high-cost projects, and new testing data that is in no other straw bale book. Down-to earth and complete, More Straw Bale Building makes the remarkable benefits of straw bale building available in the most comprehensive and practical book on the subject to date. Chris Magwood and Peter Mack are professional straw bale house builders and consultants who have constructed over 40 straw bale structures and have taught workshops and seminars in several countries. Chris is editor of The Last Straw Journal, an international quarterly devoted to straw-bale building, and the coauthor of Straw Bale Details: A Manual for Designers and Builders (New Society Publishers, 2003). More Straw Bаlе Būìld¡nɡ: A Cοmpletе Gūìdё t0 Dеsiɡn¡ng αnd Bµíld¡nɡ with Strαw

Sneak Peak: Off-Grid Straw Bale Cabin

Sneak Peak: Off-Grid Straw Bale Cabin

Wrapping up the framing on the porch roof of the off-grid cabin

How can it possibly be that March is already coming to an end? The passing of time is so utterly mundane of a subject but it’s terribly fascinating to ponder at the same time. I can hardly believe how fast these weeks go by sometimes. I’ve been spending some quality time doing various woodworking projects over the last month, so I’ve…

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