Why a straw bale house?
Straw is an ecologically friendly, cost effective building medium with fantastic thermal and sound insulation values. Click here for a more detailed answer and the benefits of straw building.
When will the house be finished?
There isn’t a rigid time frame for the build. I intend to do the job right and enjoy the process rather than rushing. However all going well he should be moving in sometime next Autumn.
What’s that big pile of coal in the car park for?
That famous pile of “coal” is actually recycled glass foam. It has now moved from the car park and is providing environmentally friendly insulation in the buildings foundations.
Why are you using big bales?
I want the bales to be load bearing to support the roof rather than having a wooden structure with straw bale infill. This can be done with small bales, but it felt like it would be much stronger and quicker with large bales, as well as better insulated. There is an extra cost for the width of the foundations and roof, which is the downside.The bales could easily support two or three stories and it would have been more economical to build such a house – next time!
Why did you decide to use concrete foundations?
The reason people object to using concrete is because it uses a lot of nonrenewable energy to produce. While I have endeavored to use natural, local, sustainable materials as much as possible due to the unique challenges of the site we felt in this case concrete was our best option.
Had it been a level site I would likely have used other methods such as shingle and car tire piers. Due to the gradient of the slope it required a retaining wall. I did not want to have to employ bricklayers, which would have been another option. We also only used concrete around the perimeter of the house rather than a full concrete slab across the entire site. Instead of this we are using inert glass foam insulation topped with an earth floor using sand and clay retrieved from the farm. One of the major concerns with building a straw bale house on the farm is that rats are likely to be a problem. Having concrete foundations coming well above ground level will help prevent their access to the site and walls.
How can I get involved?
While we already have some great helpers and we can’t always have so many volunteers on site there are still definitely opportunities if you are interested in joining in. This is especially true during certain phases such as rendering the walls. Get in touch here with your background/availability and we will work something out.
How much money will the house cost to build?
The goal is to build the house for £80,000.
Can I take Rusty home with me?
No. Rusty is very happy where he is keeping an eye on the building. Volunteers and visitors are however allowed one pat per day.