Diverting from the highly intriguing earlier posts, here’s something simpler for your grey cells. An extremely simple suggestion.
A suggestion to make your home more comfortable and your pocket, too.
With temperatures soaring higher than 50°C and plunging lower than -10°C at most places in India, it’s time we switched from those sophisticated glass houses back to the straw ones. Before you dismiss it as a baseless suggestion, take a minute to go through the reason why I suggest this.
Because houses with straw bales used for walls have been proven to be:
Cheaper than most other building materials like brick or lumber and very easily available in our country
India, being a primarily agricultural country, has plenty of straw production. The end product of cultivating crops, straw, thus, becomes one of the cheapest and most easily accessible materials in India.
Energy efficient <another cost saver, you’ll need the air conditioner less frequently>
The most important advantage of straw bale houses is their energy efficiency. A normal straw bale wall has an R-value of 7 m2·K/W. This is higher than that of most other conventional building materials. In short, straw bale houses provide a warm environment inside, thereby, reducing the money and resources required for internal heating. The insulation property of straw bale walls increases if they are plastered. Plastered straw bale walls have an insulation rating of R30-35
Other advantages over conventional building materials include:
Straw bales are thrice as fire resistant.
It is likely for us to assume that using straw for construction increases the chances of fire hazards. Contrary to general opinion, straw bale walls are fire resistant. In a 30-minute test with a 1000ºC fire on an exposed side, the unexposed side raised just 1ºC. A plastered straw bale wall has a 90 minutes rating (F90, or ASTM E-119 test).
Straw Bale houses are eco-friendly.
You don’t need a scientist to tell you that using straw for building construction would be a very sustainable and ecological way of recycling. Other benefits include greenhouse gas emissions reduction, saving resources and a healthy microclimate. Straw absorbs carbon dioxide and stores it in its walls rather than letting it into the environment. Moreover, straw is renewable and easily accessible; it is a by-product of a basic food source. It is often discarded/ burnt as a waste product. Thus, using straw for construction purposes reduces the amount of waste generated.
Straw can be used in floors, walls and ceilings as well with a wooden framework to support it. A wooden frame carries the roof; straw is laid between this for heat insulation. The walls can be plastered with lime which gives it a smooth surface and adds advantages such as a water resistant coat, prevents rodent and insect infiltration, further CO2 absorption and a smooth, soft surface.
Did you know?
The first straw bale houses, built more than 100 years ago in Nebraska, United States of America, proved the durability of the material and reliability of technology. Most of them remain sturdy till date.
When are you building yours?
Still not convinced?
See it yourself:
10 Sensational Homes built from Straw
Want to do the same?
Need instructions? It’s very simple!
 The R-value is a measure of thermal resistance used in the building and construction industry. Under uniform conditions it is the ratio of the temperature difference across an insulator and the heat flux (heat transfer per unit area, ) through it or .The R-value being discussed is the unit thermal resistance. This is used for a unit value of any particular material. It is expressed as the thickness of the material divided by the thermal conductivity. (sourced from Wikipedia.com)
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