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An underlying assumption is that as world population increases, as man and nature continue to destroy existing homes, and as resources are depleted, demand will increase for small (and larger) low cost, energy efficient housing .


Intro Building a straw bale house

Similar to a conventional wooden framed house but the frame is constructed with an inner and outer shell. The straw bails are tightened to increase firmless and compacted in between the inner and outer frame. A mesh is secured over the straw bale wall to the frame this helps the render adhere to the straw. The render is usually lime based which as a lower carbon footprint than manufactured plaster and gives off less toxic's, therefore creating a healther living space for the occupants.


Solar heating and cooling, passive solar design and solar tempering is less an issue when the house is superinsulated. Properly done, superinsulation, greatly reduces the total amount of heat required from solar and supplemental sources. A poorly insulated house could use huge banks of south facing windows and accompanying thermal mass to provide part of the enormous heat requirements. With straw bale build (superinsulated house), solar measures can be modest and get the job done.

Straw bale

Most plans are based on either a 3 foot (two string) or 4 foot (three string) bale module, with design decisions (outside wall dimensions, window size and placement for example) strongly influenced by this module. Most plans can be designed and built using either three or four tie bales (with window size and placement modified accordingly). A 12 foot wall section for example, can be constructed with 4 three foot bales, or three 4 foot bales. In the real world of straw bale home building, the bale module often gets ignored for other considerations.

Floor Plan

Load bearing

Generally, the smaller and simpler the plan, the more likely one has the option of using load bearing construction (which may be less expensive). As size and complexity increase, it becomes more likely that post and beam construction will be required. Often, a hybrid system is possible, with post and beam or stick construction on the south wall (with more windows), load bearing on the north wall (assuming few and small windows), and maybe a center suport post and beam system.

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Date : 2nd feb 2009. copyright@