Straw Bale Houses: Could You Build One
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Straw Bale Houses: Could You Build One?

Straw bale houses provide their occupants with many benefits. Before listing some, I’ll describe these houses for you. Their walls are built out of bales of straw. The straw needs to be kept dry so it is covered with plaster, on both the exterior and interior sides. An overhang is often added to the outside of the house, providing shade and additional protection to the house.

Typically a straw bale house is built so that the bales are filled in around the framework of the house, which is lumber constructed in a manner called post and beam. Because the bales do not support the load of the roof in this method, it is called non-load-bearing. In most places, building codes require this approach.

In contrast, a “load-bearing” straw bale house has the roof resting right on the straw bales. This requires care in construction so that the weight is properly balanced. This method is more ecological, as it uses less wood.

This approach is considered easier for beginners to tackle. The straw bale walls go up very rapidly, which is pleasing to everyone working on the project. Naturally, they still have much more to do, like wiring and plastering!

The southwestern part of the United States is a very popular place for straw bale houses but they are becoming more widespread in other areas now. There are straw bale-specific building codes, and there are banks that are familiar enough with straw bales homes that they make loans on them.

So what are the benefits of living in a straw bale home?

1. Insulation: With its thicker walls providing excellent insulation, a straw bale house stays more comfortable year round, cooler in summer and warmer in winter. This saves considerably on energy costs. Of course, this savings continues, year in and year out, and so it will make a real difference in the cost of living in the home.

2. Renewable resources: When we say that straw is a renewable resource, we mean that it can be grown again and again as needed. An added bonus is that it is grown pretty much everywhere so you do not need to pay high transportation costs. As sustainability in construction is becoming more important to people everywhere, this factor is becoming more important in how people choose to build. Another plus for straw bale houses!

3. The pleasure of living in a straw bale house: These homes are often quite lovely. The hand finishing and the attractive plasters make them very enjoyable to look at. With the thick walls, outside noises are muffled so the house is more tranquil.

In conclusion, straw bale houses are not only lovely but they are also earth-friendly. People with little or no construction experience can do much of the work themselves. Of course, anyone who has built a home will tell you that building a house is a big project, but eventually, the work is done. Straw bale houses have a lot going for them.