ProVillage


ECO-BUILDING – PART 7: THE BEST BALES FOR THE JOB

Once you have gathered some knowledge of the land and a design which you have found appropriate, the origin of the bales is to be found out.

It would be helpful to know exactly how big the bales are, and which kind you are going to supplied with – and at least their approximate dimensions. This is crucial during the design and engineering of the framing.
There are many farmers with available bales, so there is also a lot to choose from. Do meticulous research on the quality aspects of the bales. The difference in price does not vary that much, and this little extra effort is worth its while it in the end.

Visual inspection

strawbalesThe colour of the bales tell a lot of the history of the bales: If they have seen weather or not? Have they been stored properly? If there is a lot of white powder coming from the bales when they are agitated, it can be considered as interior mold. This can also be judged by smell; in the case of mold, the smell is unmistakably musty.
If the the visual inspection reveals that the bales damaged by water, moldy or otherwise not in good condition, it is advisable not to use the bales in the construction because then the whole construction would be placed into jeopardy.

Bale density

One important factor when choosing the bales is the density of the bales. Most building codes which recognize straw bale construction commonly require a specific density for the bales.
Calculating the density in some regions is usually calculated by the dry density of pounds per cubic foot (1.10 kN/m³).
It is essential to know the density of the bales in order to guarantee the building inspector of the quality of the bales.
A field test can be conducted in order to make sure of the density of the bales.

Moisture content

moistureThis might be most important factor when choosing bales. If the moisture content reaches over 20% , this level is enough to give a habitat for mold and decay. It is difficult to reverse the process of mold and the process produces two things the bales need to rot: moisture and warmth.
When measuring the moisture of the bales, keep in mind that the bales take and lose moisture in relation to the ambient moisture. When reading the moisture content, the reading should come from the bales and not the atmosphere.
It is not recommended to measure the moisture content in the early morning, when the dew may affect the reading.

straw baleQuestions such as what science do the local codes require in making the decision also have to be answered. And furthermore, it is much more desirable to have the straw bales from the local area for the building to have a lower impact towards the environment.

After you have found a suitable supplier concerning the bales you can move on to the next phase of designing and construction.





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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 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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