As opposed to the common notion, a straw bale house is not as fragile as the house of the second little pig in the story of The Three Little Pigs. So don’t think that you’re going to live inside a flimsy house if you choose to have a dwelling place made of straw bales.
Don’t confuse straw with hay. Straw bales are made with rye, rice and oat straw. Bales are stacked on a raised foundation with a capillary break. Some straw bales are bound with two strings while others with three. Three-string straw bales are, of course, larger in all of the three dimensions.
Straw bale walls are commonly tied together with wood or bamboo pins. A surface wire mesh can also be used which can, afterward, be plastered or stuccoed with clay, earth, or a lime-based mixture.
There are now many reasons to choose this – believe it or not – sturdy material –
Straw Keeps You Warm
Imagine the coldest day of your life. With straw bale homes, you can stay warm because it has a high R-value. The R-value is a means of measuring the insulation properties of a material. In the case of the straw bale, the thicker it gets, the toastier you’d feel inside your home.
When you take the time to compare straw bale with other building materials, you would actually be surprised to know that it offers one of the highest insulation values. It can also provide your home with the thickest walls – yet another advantage when you live in an earthquake-prone area. The plastered type offers both lateral and shear support for the ultimate seismic loads.
Straw Keeps You Cool
Okay, don’t be confused. It can also stay cool during a very hot day. Plus you would look cool when you’re the only straw bale home in the entire neighborhood!
Straw Saves Energy
Another thing that makes straw bale homes beneficial is that it can be a sustainable option. This means that a straw bale home can help you save money through your lowered energy bills. Add the straw bale material into the pool of other sustainable living concepts such as the proper location of windows, use of solar panels, and building according to one’s climate, and you would contribute to the longevity of Mother Earth.
The embodied energy of straw depends hugely on where they are produced. Of course, the farther the straw bale producer is from your home, the more gas would be used in hauling it into your home. The upside part there is that you don’t do this yearly. Just haul them in from, say, 300 miles away and you’d be giving home to a probable agricultural waste product that’s even more sustainable.
Straw Is Natural
Yet another major appeal of a straw bale is that it is all natural. These are not manufactured inside chemical-laden factories. Since straw is a natural material, it does not contain harmful products. In fact, straw is rendered as one of the most breathable materials on the planet.
Straw Feels and Looks Great
Apart from the practical advantages that you learned about straw bale homes, many homeowners have also reported how they felt inside their homes. Straw bale homes do tend to offer a feel great ambiance. This is not something that conventional houses can offer.
Straw bale homes also look great. Such a home looks different from all other homes made with conventional materials. The walls and fireplaces made with clay-rich soil and straw would look rustic and traditional which is great for people who root for such styles. You can also have other materials combined with this durable building material. Choose from timber or lumber frames, cement-based stuccos, metal, etc.
Useful Reference Links
7 reasons why we should build straw houses and live in them
11 Reasons to Live in a House of Straw
5 Reasons Straw Bale Construction and Living Off The Grid Go Perfectly Together
The Pros and Cons of Straw Bale Wall Construction
A straw-bale house: Built for one, built by hand