straw-bale-houses

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.”