Chances are high that you have recently read our cool post about Edge Architect’s straw bale home (photo above). So, I would like to take this moment to highlight some of the really cool benefits of living in a house made of straw bale.
- Straw bale is a renewable resource. Unfortunately, 200 million tons of this material gets burned every year as ‘waste straw,’ emitting an egregious amount of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere. Amazingly enough, this stuff can be used as both insulation and building material! And I don’t mean mediocre insulation. I’m talking about REALLY GOOD insulation.
- A straw bale home has the potential to lower your heating/cooling bill by 75%.
- Studies conducted by Canada’s National Research Council and SHB Agra, Inc. have concluded that straw bale buildings are more fire resistant than many conventional buildings. Hard to believe at first, I realize, but the tightly compacted bales allow very little oxygen to get in—thus minimizing chances of combustion.
- Straw bale houses work best in dry climates and aren’t recommended for humid areas. If you’re living in a humid climate and you just absolutely feel compelled to build a home of straw bale, then it is suggested that you get a humidifier as a way to prevent the moisture from seeping into the straw.
- Bale homes are really nothing new. They’ve been around in the United States and Europe since the 1800s. Of course, the bales need to be covered in some sort of plaster to properly work. Interestingly, Ecofilm points out that “clay has been used in combination with straw for thousands of years”—as a building material.
- The construction is relatively easy, making for a great opportunity of community building since unskilled workers are are all that’s required. For fun, check out this YouTube video of a group raising one side of a straw bale wall in time lapse mode.
There are many cool benefits to living in place constructed of straw bale. Before you or your friends get started, though, make sure your insurance company will will cover you. And for the curious, take a look at Andrew Morrison’s website to find out more.
additional photo credits: strawbale.com