Summertime isn’t all about just rolling in the hay and larking around; some very enthusiastic green bods are busy planning their next building project with the stuff too. From what we’ve seen lately here at EST towers, it’s clear, straw houses aren’t just to be huffed and puffed at.
They may not have been substantial enough for the three little pigs, but technology’s moved on a bit since the days when hogs were the driving force behind the housing stock. They’re now looking like a promising option for local authorities thinking out of the box and building sustainable eco-homes.
Over the last few years we’ve seen an increase in local authorities across the UK putting plans in place to build low carbon housing at scale. Some local authorities are even going one step further and using straw as an alternative building material. What’s inviting is that this process is simple and low cost too. Brilliant.
The main principle of building a straw home is that the traditional bricks, mortar and concrete used for the internal and external walls are replaced with straw bales, which are then covered in a natural plaster to make them water resistant. The straw bales are an ideal material to insulate the home, ensuring that minimal heat is lost.
A recent straw homes project in North Kesteven in Lincolnshire, sees affordable homes being built by the local authority to meet demand. The council has gone even further in their efficiency endeavors and kitted out the new homes with solar thermal panels to heat the water, and triple glazing to provide even more insulation. Straw homes could even become a common feature here as the council has said they are keen to build more straw homes and continue to explore this exciting route to energy efficiency in the social housing market.
North Kesteven Council isn’t the only local authority to invest in straw houses. Inspired by North Kesteven District Council, Epping Forest District Council in Essex is the second council in the country to follow suit and start the bailing. It seems that this touch of inspiration is far from the first and last straw.
But if you’re personally not quite ready to get outside with your pitchfork, it could be well worth seeing where you can start making energy savings in your home by taking our Home Energy Check. It’s the quickest way to find oodles of tips on how you can reduce you energy bills and save money, without a lot of huffing and puffing.