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Straw Houses - the future of Sustainable Architecture

by Anshul on October 29, 2021

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Aimed at ecological sustainability and money saving, together at one go – ‘Straw Houses’ are the new buzz among future home owners in France today. As future of sustainable architecture, straw is found in abundance in local agricultural crops every year. Triggered by shortages of materials like wood, this alternative is attractive despite the challenges.

Let us understand how to build a house using Straw

Since straw is a seasonal product found at end of summer it is best to plan the construction work in that period. Experts recommend the variety of - Wheat, Triticale (Wheat/Rye Cross) or Rye.  The construction team would also require straw bales to build exterior walls, partitions, roofs and attics.

For smaller surface houses it is best to use a technique called “Nebraska” which consists of stacking bales of straw in staggered rows and linking the bales together with bamboo.

Larger spaces require a technique called “wood framing” where owners first build a wooden frame before fitting the stacks of straw into the structure.

The straw bales are then covered with lime and coated with organic paint.

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Pros of Straw Houses

Affordability – A bundle costs around €2 if owners go and collect the straw themselves.

DIY Approach – The ‘do-it-yourself’ method does not require sophisticated construction knowledge.

Health Friendly - It is much more insulating in the long run, fire resistant and health friendly

Cons of Straw Houses

Humidity – It is impossible to keep it working in the event of rain. Owners have to ensure that bales are constantly stored in moist free zone throughout the site.

Requirement of Special Foundations – These are needed to prevent upwelling from ground and rotting of the straw from below.

Origin of this new sensation

Eddy Fruchard, construction specialist, explains that this process has been very popular for the last 15 years. This type of home also represents the future of construction.

Living in French commune of deux-sèvres in Melle, wanted to own a house made of straw while affording a 136 sqm space. To realise this, he bought 400 bales of straw and got assisted by construction professionals for one and half years straight. The walls of this house were erected using straw, wood and earth.

Today, this idea is spreading throughout France as a popular, exciting and sustainable alternative to traditional houses.

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