Straw Bale Block Building

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The thick walls present opportunities for niches, deep window sills and seating areas. Straw bale construction was added to the International Residential Code in , the model code adopted by most US states and recognized around the world.

Specialist in natural materials

This code constitutes a prescriptive specification for simple buildings, and a set of guidelines for larger and nonresidential projects. The best way to avoid sustained high moisture concentrations lies in making certain that the bales are able to transpire any accumulated moisture back into the environment. Straw bale construction may not be well-suited for consistently high-humidity climates.

The surfaces of straw bales offer an excellent mechanical bond to plaster and stucco, and reinforcement is generally not needed to attach plaster to the walls.


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Reinforcement may be desired when stucco is used as part of the structural system, or as assurance against hairline cracking. When needed, a variety of techniques can be used to attach netting, including long staples stuck into the bales or wire ties through the bale walls.

We are specialists in straw bale and straw panel building.

Taking straw bale construction to larger scale buildings is not yet prevalent, even though there are many examples worldwide, including a seven story housing project in France, sizable schools and public buildings in the UK, and wineries, office buildings and other examples throughout the USA. Fungus dry rot can occur in straw at sustained high levels of moisture over 20 percent of dry weight, or relative humidity of 70 to 80 percent — significant damage occurs when these levels are maintained over a long period of time.

Intermittent moisture is not a threat, however.

The Carbon Smart Materials Palette is a living resource that reflects the best available knowledge and resources at this time. The palette will be updated as new technology, research, and data becomes available. The extent to which any or all of these guidelines and recommendations are realized in practice depends in large measure on their application, local conditions, and the extent to which the designer succeeds in understanding and applying them.

Architecture does not guarantee, certify, or assure the safety or performance of any buildings, products, components, or systems selected or installed in accordance with the Carbon Smart Materials Palette.

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The Carbon Smart Materials Palette is presented solely as a guide, which may be modified as more information becomes available. In utilizing the Carbon Smart Materials Palette, practitioners must research and ensure the applicability and structural performance of the various materials, and comply with safety and application instructions, ordinances and codes applicable in their jurisdictions.

Carbon Impact of Straw-Bale Straw-bale construction is a building method that commonly uses straw from wheat, rice, rye and oats, as building insulation. With regenerative agricultural practices, which aim to regenerate topsoil and increase biodiversity, the amount of carbon sequestered in straw can be more than doubled.

Carbon Smart Attributes Straw sequesters carbon Straw naturally sequesters carbon both in grain stalk itself and by storing carbon into the soil.


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  • Straw bale construction helps preserve ecosystems For single family residences, the substitution of straw-bales for wood can relieve the pressure to log old-growth forests, preserving ecosystems for wildlife habitat, air-quality and soil-stabilization. Straw bale construction is a proven durable method Properly built and maintained, straw buildings can have a useful lifespan of at least years.

    We visited a few times during the build and were always amazed at the quality of the work and the dedication of the workers.

    Straw bale | YourHome

    If I was planning a straw bale build Jeffrey would be my first choice to manage the project. Your email address will not be published. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed. Search for: Press Enter to Search.

    Carbon Smart Attributes

    In straw bale building we use a few key techniques that are unique to the trade. Like this: Like Loading One Comment Post Comment. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Your email address will not be published.

    Hans van Dam "How to build a real straw bale house"

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