A house made of straw. I’ve seen a lot, but this is one thing I hadn’t seen close up yet and for sure not the constructing of it. I have a weak spot for everything that is build environmentally friendly. I once saw the documentary of the Garbage Warrior and was so amazed about how this guy was building houses, I fell in love with an earthship straight away. One day I hope to live in it, with a straw house as a good second option.
I asked around a little bit here, at La Mariposa Spanish School & Eco-hotel, where we are building this straw house, research a lot on the internet and found an amazing amount of advantages to built a straw house and also a few disadvantages.
- Nature lover as I am for me the most important thing is that straw is a waste product (as long as it’s not especially grown for the construction of the house). As soon as the grains have been harvest, the straw is left over. It can be for animals, but also walls for houses.
- On top of it: it’s a green product. It grows naturally and the only ‘waste energy’ it coast is to transport it from the place it grows to the place the house is build.
- Straw is an amazing insulation material. Keeping your house nice and warm; or nice and cool. Because the straw is and building material and isolation material you get two for the price of one.
- Having thick walls it’s easy to have ‘window seats’. In my last house I built a very thick window-sill, because I just like to sit in the window. Although my cats liked it so much, they would usually pick the window spot.
- Straw bale construction isn’t to hard to learn and it’s an ‘do-it-your-own’ option. If you have somebody to show you, you can do a lot of work yourselves.
- A straw built home can last over 100 years, when they are maintained properly. But if they have to be taken down, it’s a natural product, which can be plowed back in the ground. It’s not – like fiberglass – a product that is a disposal problem.
- A house made of straw is a new thing. I have no clue how it is in different countries, but I know in the Netherlands we love rules, so it can be very hard to get approval of the local government to built a straw house. Most local governments in the Netherlands don’t think a lot about the environment, only about money and rules. I know for sure Tilburg – my home town – does. Their environmentally friendly program only exists on paper.
- Walls of straw need to be kept dry as moisture is detrimental to not only straw, but to many building materials. Moisture entering the bales from the roof above is to be avoided at all cost. So a lot of attention has to go to the construction of the roof.