ProVillage in the Google SketchUp Warehouse

Some of the models for the project are now viewable in the Google 3D Warehouse.

This is only the beginning. I will try to upload one picture per week mainly on the topics which we have covered and will be covering in our blog in the future. Things have been progressing at such a pace that we have to collect our marbles and put them into some reasonable order again.

– Tero




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.


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 (

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 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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