by Paul Rainger
I'll huff and I'll puff, but we'll build that house up. Let's face it, until Kevin McCloud and Grand Designs came along, the reputation of straw houses was not good. Largely thanks to the tale of the Three Pigs, a story that, with hindsight, looks suspiciously like a piece of inspired viral marketing by the Brick Manufacturers Association.
But that situation looks set to change this week, with work getting underway on Bath University’s pioneering project to build a two-storey straw house on campus, confirming the West of England's reputation as the UK's leader in urban sustainability.
The two-storey BaleHaus is being built using prefabrcated panels made from wooden frames filled with straw and hemp then rendered with a weather-proof coating. Straw provides such high levels of insulation that it is anticipated the house will need very little additional heating beyond that provided by the occupants themselves. A handy saving on the £400 average heating bill for a family semi.
The eco-build uses prefabricated straw panels: ModCells are made by Forum's friends White Design in Bristol and Integral Structural Design in Bath, with embedded sensors to allow Bath University to monitor the temperature and humidity levels.
Bath's BaleHaus is due to be finished by late summer, but perhaps best of all, you can watch the construction progressing for yourself via a live webcam.
With a year of monitoring then to follow, Bath University will be able to show how straw, that most sustainable of building materials, really can help keep the wolf from the door.
This piece originally appeared on the website of Forum for the Future, the not-for-profit sustainable development organisation which works with leaders from business and the public sector to create a green, fair and prosperous world.
Check out other Straw House projects:
"the tale of the Three Pigs, a story that, with hindsight, looks suspiciously like a piece of inspired viral marketing by the Brick Manufacturers Association"
LOL - What a really well written article..