Are straw bales the future of sustainable building? – Green Living – The Ecologist
Straw bale is a low impact, low carbon building material making strides towards mainstream acceptance. So is it about time we took notice? Mark Briggs reports
As designers and homeowners look for imaginative ways to help reduce their carbon footprint in the campaign against climate change, straw bale could become a new tool in the building industry’s armoury. Straw, a natural by-product of farming, is collected and baled, tightly compacted, and fitted into a frame before being rendered with earthen or lime stucco. The practice was prevalent during the 1800s throughout the American prairie states but fell out of favour with people turning to bricks and mortar. Unlike hay, straw contains no nutritional value for livestock and is often sold as bedding for farm animals – or burnt. Unlike other recycled materials currently used in the building industry, such as car tyres or recycled plastics, straw bale can be used in its raw state requiring no further processing.