05 Apr 2009
Yes I would buy one. I would want there to be building regulations that define the minimum requirements of the building construction using straw and would be prepared to have this inspected if this is not a requirement by law. For standard developments the builder would have to be inspected while under construction, need to avoid the conflict of repair and rework cutting margins vs. ensuring the straw bale house is a quality product that does not get a bad reputation through initial poor installation techniques.
15 May 2009
Like everthing else the costs of this type of construction look fine now, but as demand goes up there is only a limited supply of this by-product material. Also with this type of construction wall thickness greatly reduces floor area with building land already at a premium.
15 May 2009
Andrew, quite rightfully highlights a couple of potential issues with straw bales but both are resolved fairly straightforwardly.
- raw material supplies, 13 million tonnes annually is a lot of material that is currently under utilised as a building material, an average 90sqm 3 bedroom dwelling would use about 4 tonnes of straw, 1000 dwellings a year equals 4000 tonnes of straw requirement well within the volumes produced without distorting the other commercial and agricultural uses of straw.
- if climate change affected supplies there is real potential to extend to other types of fibrous material, grown and harvested as a building material without affecting food production capacity.
- wall thickness, a modern house has had a net increase in the thickness of the walls over the last 20 years to increase the insulation specification, modern straw brick manufacturing does not increase this thickness but does increase insulation value by a third over a 'conventional' wall profile.