A Straw Bale Workshop in Michigan — 5 Comments

  1. Congratulations to Andrew Morrison for running such a successful workshop in Ann Arbor. I’ve just been reading the Wikipedia entry for the city. Judging by the monthly climate statistics, a particularly challenging area to design a building that will deal with everything. January a grim month with half of the days featuring snowfall, and December to February inclusive with negative temperatures. July is the hottest month in an average year, but also the wettest. Yet the coldest June to August inclusive have featured temperatures just over freezing ! I would suspect that nice thick straw walls are probably an ideal medium to cope with such a temperature range, and a seemingly unpredictable range at that ! I gather that Ann Arbor, being home to the World famous University of Michigan, has encouraged self-builds, particularly those featuring innovative designs. An excellent project that Andew Morrison has been hosting, and lets wish everyone there well with this and other projects of sustainable builds. If they can do it with challenging conditions – many of the rest of us can if we make the effort ! Thanks for the fascinating article !

    • Straw bales make easy building blocks that have excellent insulating properties. They can be used either as infill for insulation or they can be stacked and be load bearing. They are an agricultural by-product that have very little embodied energy, and are a very sustainable solution for construction. If they are utilized with care and proper attention to detail, they can produce housing that will last as long and be as strong as most other traditional techniques.

  2. I really do Not want to live in such house!
    Imagine what happen when you have fire, hurricanes or tornado, and this kind of house can not be considered as energy saving! Instead filling the walls with straw why don’t you fill it with foam concrete which is fire proof, high thermal isolation , water proof and very strong!
    We are in 21st century !

    • Well, as explained in the article, straw bale walls do not burn easily, and if they are designed and built right they can withstand high winds. Straw is at least as good at insulating as foam concrete and it is a natural material with very low embodied energy, better than cement.

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