ProVillage


ECO-BUILDING – PART 5: THE PROS OF BUILDING WITH STRAW BALES

Why build with straw bales? It can be said with great certainty that tens of thousands of people have been aroused to building their homes or other constructions with straw bales around the world. Until now, it has come to our attention that all around the world there are projects going on involving straw bale building, and the number is surely to grow with the awareness of the pros of building with straw bales.

Below are a few points which speak for the methods of incorporating straw when building with straw bales.

Energy efficiency

thermo slimAs the costs for heating and cooling rise, energy efficiency is gaining more and more attention.  It is said that a well designed and built straw bale home can lower the heating costs by 70 % compared to a conventional home. It can be considered as a significant saving.

Aesthetics

People are generally attracted to the thick walls which resemble medieval architecture or adobe homes in Latin America. A straw bale house has a totally different feel to living it, than a conventional house. The material is versatile enough to make various kinds of forms into the general building and firstly one just has to get to know the method in which way the combination of straw and other materials behave.

Acoustics/noise suppression
acoustics 004 png
Straw bale homes are remarkably quiet. The thick walls muffle sounds and diminish echoes. The most important aspects to take into consideration when planning a straw bale home is to get the correct balance of sound insulation, natural light and energy design.

At some locations around the world the technique of building strawhouses has been implemented when building recording studios. And it can be thought that workshops where noise producing machinery are operated, the strawbale walls would make conditions more bareable.

Fire rating

Homes built with straw are extremely fire resistant. A straw bale home is three times (3x) more resistant to fire than conventional homes – this is due to the fact that there is not enough oxygen in the bales for a fire to burn lively, and since the bales are covered with a thick and earthy render. In this case, one should think of a 5 cm layer of plaster covering the bales.

Environmental aspects

Millions of tons of straw is produced and burned every year. Instead, the straw can be used to produce a healthy and pleasant living environment. It also said that the amount of volatile organic compounds is less than in many other conventional buildings

See: VOC’s – Volatile organic compounds (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volatile_organic_compound)

The ease of building

Everybody can learn to build with straw bales after a few guidelines are taken into consideration. When building with straw bales, the most difficult task would be the taking into consideration of the framing, electronics,  plumbing, etc…

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ECO-BUILDING – PART 4: DIY and drawings – Artisan & craft-village project

These 3D-drawings are made by Tero Syvänen and are parts of our Artisan & Craft-village project. The band saw is incorporated with the project to manufacture lumber for construction purposes.

log band saw mill drawn by Tero Syvanen

The log bandsaw is a typical project of ours:

  • We make all drawings, through a lot of reading and writing 🙂
  • We build the bandsaw, using mostly recycled materials.
  • We test the bandsaw and make the improvements etc.
  • We re-draw the bandsaw and make all other drawings needed,  including all technical specifications, so that *anyone* can build a same kind of a saw.
  • Then we publish all these mentioned above –  on the Internet. Free for everyone.

The only thing we ask of those who build these, are photos, or videos about how the work  goes, improvements etc.

Log band saw mill Morningwood 2010 with two lasers drawn by Tero Syvänen

Log bandsaw with two lasers.

Artist home south view drawn by Tero Syvanen

The Artisan and Craftpersons village is made in parts as the project itself is relatively big.

The best way to find out about it, is to read/download our three pdf-files.

Artist house south-west view drawn byTero-Syvanen

Plan of the strawbale house

Cats upstairs loves straw-bale houses with soft curves

Cats at the veranda, second floor, at the artist’s straw-bale house

The front of the upper room, where the artisan is actually living.

You find more about our project by downloading our pdf-files. It can take some 10 seconds to download them, as the files contains about 130 pictures and drawings.

Even more drawings can be  found here:

http://henry.blogit.uusisuomi.fi/

Feel free to ask any questions or comment, in our (Finnish) blog, in your own language. Other languages that can be used (which our group understands):  English, Chinese, Russian, Swedish, Norwegian and Arabic.

Our group is interested in international cooperation in these questions.

Henry Björklid

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ECO-BUILDING – PART 3: Strawbales are outstanding as insulation!

The construction of strawbale homes has grown enormously around the world. The reason for this is the cost-effectiveness of the building material, and that the normal supporting structures and the clay-plastered straw bales replace many other materials, such as tile or wood cladding, wind-proof boards, insulation, plastics and decorative boards.

A large straw bale house - Wikipedia

Even large houses, such as exhibition halls of thousands of square meters, are being built using straw bales.

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From our three separate ’ProVillage’ -documents you can get a relatively clear idea about our project:

The documents can be found both in Finnish and in English.

Downloading might take some time, because the files have an approximate of 130 images.

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Wikipedia-Matawa_straw_bale_library

Here a library has been constructed using straw bales.  The wall support structures have been crafted for the windows. After this the walls have been plastered with a clay and sand mixture to leave it to a distinctive light colour.

straw-bale-house-window-installetion

The supporting structures are made in the same fashion as in the usual building of a house. Here a window-area has been prepared for the application of the external render.The window benches and the window frames are connected firmly together to the supporting structure. In the meantime, the ‘packages’ of straw are tightened and ‘barbered’ to a uniform surface.

Straw-bale-house-under-construction

The window benches and the window frames are connected firmly together to the supporting structure. In the meantime, the ‘packages’ of straw are tightened and ‘barbered’ to a uniform surface.

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The insulation capability of a straw bale structure

The Finnish thermal insulation requirements will tighten remarkably by the year 2010.

”The U-value (or U-factor), more correctly called the overall heat transfer coefficient, describes how well a building element conducts heat. It measures the rate of heat transfer through a building element over a given area, under standardized conditions. The usual standard is at a temperature gradient of 24 C°, at 50% humidity with no wind (a smaller U-value is better). U is the inverse of R with SI units of W/(m²•K)”

Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U-value#U-value

The U-value (previously known as the K-value) in part C3 of the collection of building regulations. —– The U-value is to indicate the thermal insulation of various structures in a construction.

The smaller the U-value, the better the insulative capabilities of the material.

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PASSIVE HOUSE:

“The term passive house (Passivhaus in German) refers to the rigorous, voluntary, Passivhaus standard for energy efficiency in buildings. It results in ultra-low energy buildings that require little energy for space heating or cooling”

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passive_house

All or nearly all of the heat energy needed  is obtained from solar energy and the heat generated from the living in the house.

A passive house does not have an actual heating system. The outer shell of the house has to be well insulated and tight.

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550-1

The pictures above and below have been taken from a guide book which is published by Amazonails, which also can be downloaded in PDF-format from:

http://www.amazonails.org.uk/UserFiles/files/strawbaleguide.pdf

550-2

The following is a table of summary:

The tightening demands on external insulation of various building materials

building regs

.

The situation is such that if one was to use 45 cm of mineral wool on a wall, that would also fall into the requirements of a passive house, but at the same time would be very expensive.

So it can be deducted that in reality strawbales are the best and most cheapest insulation material, falling greatly below the norms with its values even under tightened circumstances.

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Here you can find a lot of literature in English on the topic:

http://www.amazonails.org.uk/?contentId=59

Pictures :  http://www.StrawBale.com and http://www.LearnStrawBale.com

An information package can also be found there which can be distributed freely.

Videos can be seen here => http://www.StrawBale.com/videos


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Eco-building – Part 2: Is it possible to build a 10.000 €uro house, which can also be lived in during the winter?

The objective is to build a house in accordance with the regulations and norms of the European Union, while not costing more than 10.000 €. The materials to be used are stone, strawbales, material obtained from the thinning of a forest, recycled materials, clay and sand.

The calculation does not include:

  • The price of the lot.
  • The road to the lot.
  • Transport, i.e. the trasportation of the raw materials to the building site (varies remarkably and is case specific)
  • Supply of electricity and Internet to the site.
  • The building of possible machines and apparatus for construction.
  • The required inspection fees and similar fees of various regions (which vary remarkably according to region).
Picture: Tero Syvänen

Picture: Tero Syvänen

Included in the calculations are:

  • 70 sqm of heated space
  • 50 sqm of covered cold space
  • Water input/output, plumbing
  • The treatment of ‘black’ and ‘grey’ water
  • A composting toilet
  • Electrical instalments, made mainly up of a great number of sockets and lighting spots
  • The heating and ventilation system
  • [For the waterproofing of the roof, an approximate of 1000 € is intended to be allocated, but this information is slightly unsure]
  • Doors and windows
  • The facilities required for the kitchen
  • Shower facilities
  • Flooring
  • Paint and other material required for the decoration of the interior
  • A lot of work

_______________________________

From our three separate ’ProVillage’ -documents one gets a relatively clear idea about our project:

The documents can be found both in Finnish and in English.

The downloading might take a while, because the files have an approximate of 130 images.

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Eco-building – Part 1: Establishment of a family-oriented village for artisans

https://provillage.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/stones-and-pallets-as-ventilation-under-thr-straw-bale-construction

Displayed  are some on the main building materials incorporated with the construction. Picture: Tero Syvänen”

https://provillage.files.wordpress.com/2009/09/artist-straw-bale-home-ground-floor-taiteilija-olkipaalitalo-alakerta

A conceptual model of the house intended for construction.
The facade has been omitted in the picture in order to give an impression
of the dimensions.

Presently our introductory files are being translated into Chinese, Russian and Arabic – and their English and Finnish versions can be downloaded from here.

Other languages to follow.  We can be contacted at: provillage2010@gmail.com

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