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Straw bale houses on the increase

Wednesday 19th October 2005

Straw bale houses on the increase

Houses built out of straw are back in fashion, despite all the well known hazards associated with huffing and puffing wolves.

Sustainable Structures, a Bay of Plenty building company, have ten projects currently under way throughout the North Island and more are in the planning stage. The homes are substantial, with walls half a meter thick. Unlike the children’s story the construction methods employed have advanced since the three pigs built houses. Straw bales are stacked up like big building blocks to form the walls, then faced and tied together with netting. Both sides of the walls are rendered with a thick water resistant plaster. With double glazed windows the result is an extremely well insulated building, both thermally and acoustically, while having all the ambiance of a Tuscan style abode.

According to Sustainable Structures project manager Bryce Stevens, energy efficiency, future thinking and cost are becoming major considerations for people choosing these more environmentally friendly forms of housing.

“For about the same as it costs to build a good quality conventional house to the same standard, straw bale construction offers a naturally insulated, energy efficient, environmentally friendly (and very salubrious) home that will last a hundred years or more.”

The Smart design features of straw bale homes benefit from passive heating and cooling, while employing the best of new energy and waste disposal systems.

Sustainable Structures are holding an ‘open day’ near Te Puke on Saturday 5 November. This is a rare opportunity to see a straw bale house naked, as it were, with the straw in place, netting detail completed and prior to the plaster coat. Call 0800 787 292 to register your interest. Numbers are strictly limited as this is a private property and there will be a $10 admission charge, proceeds going to Te Ranga School.


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