Tag Archives: insulation

Building A House With Straw Bales

With the recent week of -40 degree weather, my thoughts have again turned to straw bale houses. I first discovered these creations a few months ago and was immediately impressed. If you’re not familiar with straw bale houses, here’s a quick run down.

The main idea is that the walls are not made of lumber, insulation, and gyprock. Instead there is a wood frame that is filled with straw bales and covered in plaster.

Straw Bale House

Taken from http://www.flickr.com/photos/bluearc21/5036084/

Straw Bale House

Taken from http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/304363867/

The main benefit of this type of structure is the amazing insulation that the straw bales provide. My house (where the temperature with the wind chill has reached -47 degrees this week) has R-20 in my walls. Straw bales would provide an insulation value of R-50 to R-60.

Straw Bale House

Taken from http://www.flickr.com/photos/indigo100966/1856700319/

According to Strawbale.com, the energy savings of a straw bale house is about 75% over a traditional stick frame home. What that means in dollars and cents is this: Last year my heating bill was $778. If I had the same house, but built out of straw bales, my heating cost would have only been $194. That’s pretty impressive.

Straw Bale House

Taken from http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]6/472853961/

I love the sunken window and door frames, the rounded corners, and the imperfect surface.

If I build any major buildings in the future, I would love to build a straw bale structure. And of course, if I do, you’ll be the first to know!