We are deep in the process of building a straw bale house here in Daylesford (Victoria, Australia). We are passionate about straw bale building and as such we are happy to share with you our plans and our journey. We designed the house ourselves, over the course of three years of research and refinement. We used passive solar design principles as a guide and created a plan to suit our five person family.
We tried to keep the design simple, and the square meterage down. We wanted to design, and build, something realistic and achievable, but we also believe that for a home to be truly environmentally friendly, it must not be excessive in size.
Oh, so many reasons! The biggest one is probably that straw bale construction is perfect for our climate- we experience some extremes of temperature, with very cold winters and often very hot summers. The insulation straw bale offers is unsurpassed, and results in a home which requires minimal heating and no extra cooling. It also offers insulation from sound and the earth render regulates humidity in the home to create optimum air quality and prevent common household problems such as mold and dust mites. Earth rendered straw bale walls have also been found (in recent csiro tests) to be able to withstand most bush fires, which is an important factor in our area. Straw is a common waste product which usually burned off releasing carbon into the atmosphere- it makes sense to use this natural, readily available waste product for building, and it offers an alternative source of income to farmers. For me though it's also about the beauty- those gorgeous wide sills, window seats, nooks, carved niches and the ability to curve a wall. The texture and contour of those earthen walls just really does it for me. And not in a hippy way, there will be no wood panelling here, just clean minimal earthy simplicity.
Stick around and see how it goes :)
Feel free to ask questions if you are interested- we've had to ask so many of others on our journey!
UPDATE: BUILDING & FINISHED HOUSE PICS!!!