You might not think that a straw house could be better insulated than one made of, say, brick, but that’s exactly what researchers at the University of Bath in the U.K. intend to prove with the BaleHaus, a home constructed from straw bale and hemp cladding panels. The home, which has been in the works since 2007, theoretically won’t need any conventional heating elements because of the high insulating properties of straw.
The two-story house, scheduled for completion later this summer, is being built using “ModCell,” or pre-fab panels made out of a wooden frame filled with straw bale or hemp. When completed, BaleHaus will have a negative carbon footprint. That’s because crops used to make straw are grown locally and absorb carbon dioxide as they grow, thus negating the potential carbon impact of building a straw bale house. No word on how much the BaleHaus will cost to build, but it’s safe to assume that hemp and straw grown on-site are cheaper than manufactured materials.
Once BaleHaus is finished, university researchers will spend a year monitoring its insulation properties, air tightness, sound insulation, and humidity. Wolves will have a tough time huffing and puffing and blowing the house down–straw bale homes have been shown to be highly resistant to earthquakes. It’s counterintuitive, but straw might be the cheapest, most widely available, and safest home-building material available.
[Via UK Daily Mail]
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