10 Straw-bale homes – an eco-friendly alternative to explore



As everything evolves, the need for efficient designs becomes more apparent. Designers and architects are constantly exploring new possibilities in terms of materials that can help them build energy-efficient homes. It’s why we see all sorts of unusual designs, like recycled container homes or underground structures. Straw bale homes are also an interesting alternative to take into consideration.

Small Eco dwelling in a forest in South of Finland.

Let’s take, for example, this lovely cottage. It can be found in Finland and it was built in a summer to serve as a getaway. It’s a small space with a shabby chic interior lit by candles. It might not be very spacious or fancy but it’s very relaxing. It was built little by little, with the help of friends and neighbors. The little cottage was built with sand, rocks, salvages wood, straw bales and other natural materials. It has cob walls and the exterior is plastered.

Since there wasn’t much space inside, the cottage also got a skylight window it’s a perfect addition that allows its owner to admire the sky, the stars and the moon and to see the raindrops falling on the window and dripping down. The roof was initially nothing but a pile of cardboard and tarp. It was mainly made of wood and had a waterproof layer.

The skylight window was installed at the end. Then the walls were lime-plastered and the remaining gaps were filled. It’s not exactly a perfect creation but it’s the perfect place to spend a few summer days when all you want is to clear your head and to get away from everything for a while.{found on CobDreams blog}.

Building Your Own Hobbit House With £3,000.

When you think of straw-bale houses and tiny cottages it’s almost impossible not to think of the hobbit houses. A hobbit house is actually a great representation of eco-friendly architecture combined with unusual designs. When he first started this project, the owner of this wonderful house had no interesting in building an eco-friendly structure or a hobbit house. As it turns out, he combined those perfectly.

The house was built into the hillside and it has a very creative and ingenious design. The reason why its owner decided to start this project in the first place was because he didn’t want to pay huge mortgages for his home anymore. As you can see, the solution to solve the problem was very inspiring.

Even though he wasn’t an architect of any kind, Mr. Dales, the owner, wasn’t discouraged by this. So he started gathering scrap wood and other materials salvaged from the area. Four months later, the house was complete. The house is amazing and has a splendid interior, very charming and very inviting. It features a composite toiler, a refrigerator cooled by natural air and many other green features. It’s compact but it’s also amazing and serves as inspiration for everyone in the area.

ModCell’s Stunning Straw-bale Prefab Homes.

When you imagine a straw-bale house it’s usually small and shabby, definitely not similar to this marvelous creation. This is a prefab house built by UK company ModCell. It’s a structure that offers an innovative approach on the traditional straw-bale construction. The house is modern and quite spacious, not to mention highly attractive.

But the even better part is the fact that it’s also a sustainable house and an energy-efficient structure. The company uses straw bale in their prefab panels and the result is a house with incredible insulation and sustainable properties. The panels and wall systems are built using PEFC timbers and then they are filled with locally-sourced straw or hemp. The panels are air-tight and mold-resistant and they are built with no waste during the process.

The exterior is covered in lime rendering. The houses that are created using these panels are sustainable and, depending on their location, they may not require any heating at all. Moreover, they can be used for complex projects for houses that have more than one level and that feature modern and open designs, with large windows and beautiful green features. This house is just an example of what you can create using prefab straw-bale panels.

Straw Bale Holiday Home by Carol Atkinson.

Here’s another example of a marvelous straw-bale house. This is, in fact, UK’s first straw bale holiday home. It’s located in East Yorkshire and it’s known as The Straw Bale Cabin. It’s a sustainable and eco-friendly construction that was built using locally-grown straw and a series of other renewable materials. To make it even more sustainable, its owner installed a micro wind turbine that generates energy for the house.

In addition, this amazing holiday home also features solar panels and many more eco-friendly features. The straw bales provide insulation for the house. Even better, when plastered on both sides, straw bale walls become fireproof, vermin-proof and airtight. If you also add all the other eco-friendly features included in the design of the house, you get an amazing eco-retreat with its energy use reduced dramatically.

The cabin is very charming and is currently available for rent for all those that wish to experience living in a straw-bale house and enjoying a different kind of vacation. It might look simple from the outside but it’s actually a much more complex structure. It’s very charming and it’s also an amazing retreat, a secluded getaway destination where you enter a whole different world.{found on site}.

Sustainability and Energy Savings with Straw Bale Home.

When they were first invented, straw-bale structures were seen as nothing more but shabby homes waiting to be replaced with something better. But, as it turns out, we can now truly appreciate them thanks to their low cost and significant energy savings. Many designers have started to recognize the advantages of these homes and several projects and programs have been created. One of them is the Sustainable Affordable and Efficient (SAFE) Homes Train-the-Trainers program, created by the Intertribal COUP and Greenweaver, Inc, DCAT, and One World Design.

The program aims at developing energy-efficient and eco-friendly designs and building techniques for the community. The program focuses on building straw-bale house which have turned out to be the best solution. Straw-bale houses have become increasingly popular once people started to appreciate the advantages they offer. They are easy to build, the cost of the project is reduced and they offer great advantages in terms of energy0efficiency and savings. It’s a first step towards a more sustainable future and the results are more impressive on a larger scale. This program also serves as a model for everyone else and has already inspired other people who decided to take this step and to change their lifestyle.

Rome’s First Straw Bale House.

Contrary to general belief, straw bale houses are not suitable just for rural areas. In fact, they can look quite charming and beautiful in the city as well. Beyond Architecture Group Officinamobile (BAG) knows this very well and it’s why it’s trying to change this perception. The team recently built a wonderful straw-bale house in Rome, the first one of its kind in the area.

The straw bale was first mixed with crushed bricks and mud. The walls were then plastered using a mix of crushed brick and local dirt. It might not sound pretty but the results are surprisingly beautiful. In fact, the finish gives the house a very nice earthy tone which makes it feel particularly warm and cozy. The project had a goal the creation of an energy-efficient house with a sustainable design that would fit nicely in the landscape.

Earthquake Resistant Homes Made From Straw.

As we’ve already mentioned several times by now, straw bale houses are extremely sustainable, eco-friendly and energy-efficient. But there is also another great advantage that they offer. They are also earthquake-resistant structures. It’s why they make wonderful alternatives for some regions. A group called PAKSBAB (Pakistan Straw Bale and Appropriate Building) has already started a program in which durable buildings are created using local resources.

The houses that are built are low-cost projects and also eco-friendly structures. But the best part is that these houses are earthquake resistant and can withstand devastating events. You might wonder what makes them so durable and resistant. Well, the answer is straw bale. The walls of the houses are made of straw bales and they are secured with bamboo.

The bales serve both as supporting structures and as insulation for the house. The walls are coated with clay plaster. It’s a great innovation that also as another major advantage: the low cost. Making a building only costs $2250, money that’s invested in materials. Building the structure is easy and doesn’t require much effort. The group had great success with these designs and the team has already built 11 houses.

Eco-Home.

People are constantly exploring for alternative building materials that can help them improve the quality of their lifestyle. These days there seems to be a great concern about the impact our construction methods and materials have on the environment so we are trying to fix this problem by focusing on using natural alternatives. A great solution is straw-bale construction. Straw bales can be sued to create amazing homes.

For example, you might be surprised to find out that this marvelous house was also built with straw bales. Situated on top of a slope with panoramic views, the house looks quite majestic. It has a rectangular shape and a simple overall design. As you get closer you can see that the walls are made of timber. But what you don’t see is that they’re filled with straw bales.

They provide great insulation and they allow the structure to be strong enough to hold the roof. Around 700 bales were used to build this house and a workshop. The construction process is not difficult but it takes time so the more helpers you get the better. It’s yet another great project that can be your inspiration. Straw bales are definitely an alternative to take into consideration.{found on inspirationalvillage}.

Another project.

All these examples of straw bale houses are great and inspirational but one might wonder where could you start such a project and what do you need to know about it before you start. Well, you should know that a straw bale house is fairly easy to build in comparison with other types but it still takes time and effort. Prefabricated houses make everything easier however. If you decide to build the house yourself the you should decide what you want to use for the frame.

The straw bales will only be used to fill the frame. You can use wood which is a very popular choice and that goes very well with the whole cozy and warm, earthy look. The walls also need to be plastered. The straw bales will provide great insulation. Also they’ll allow you to save energy. The energy savings of such a house are about 75% over a traditional home. In terms of design, you can’t expect a straw-bale house to look perfect. It will most likely have a more organic design with irregularities and unique details. If you want, you can exploit this look and use rounded corners and imperfect surfaces to give it a more organic appearance.{found on site}.

Three times more efficient than a regular home.

We’ve already mentioned some of the major advantages that straw-bale houses offer but let’s review them all once more. First of all, a straw-bale house if three times more efficient than a regular home and the costs are reduced by up to 75% in a lifecycle of around 30 years. Straw bales provide great thermal isolation so no additional isolation methods are required. The energy cost for transporting the straw bales is minimal.

A straw bale house keeps the heat inside and maintains a constant temperature. The clay used to cover the bales also absorbs pollution agents. Straw bales come from renewable sources and they’re a more sustainable material than wood.

As for the structure of straw-bale houses, you should know that the walls can support a weight of over 1,000 kg/square foot and they’re also easy to build. The mix used to plaster the walls with is made from several natural materials such as earth, straws, sand, plants, etc.You might wonder how much it takes to build such a house. Well, a house of approximately 100 square meters can be built in 3 to 4 months. Straw-bale houses are currently popular in the rural environment but there are initiatives meant to also include them in the urban area.{found on wall-street}.


Published by in Best Of, on February 15th, 2013

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