The Big Bad Wolf would be very disappointed these days and the Three Little Pigs would be very happy because even if the Big Bad Wolf could blow a hurricane that straw house would have held up. Per this article in Times Online
Scientists have ruined the plot of a children’s fairytale by proving that straw houses do not necessarily blow down, even when subjected to an awful lot of huffing and puffing.
The first straw housing estate is being planned after tests showed that walls built of straw bales can be made strong enough to withstand hurricane-force winds. A two-storey straw house constructed at the University of Bath moved only 4mm (0.16in) when subjected to a force exceeding four tonnes, equivalent to 120 MPH winds.
Not only does it offer great protection from the Big Bad Wolf, it’s even energy-efficient.
The heating bills for this type of straw house, which has walls almost half a metre thick, are 80 per cent lower than for modern homes made from bricks and breeze blocks. The carbon footprint from the construction and materials is also far lower because straw locks in carbon as it grows.
And they’re durable,
He added that the homes should last more than 100 years if they remained occupied and any leaks were quickly repaired. In Nebraska there are several straw bale buildings dating from the early 20th century.
Quick to set-up.
The BaleHaus design used by the university requires eight panels for each story. Once the concrete foundations are in place, it can be assembled in four days, compared with a minimum of four weeks for a conventional home.
The price isn’t bad either!
An affordable housing co-operative in Leeds is planning to submit an application within three months for 20 straw homes in the Kirkstall area of the city. A single-storey apartment will cost £60,000 and a four-bedroom terrace home £160,000.
Sounds pretty interesting. Of course you’re going to have the carbon effect from growing the straw, tilling the soil, harvesting (equipment running), but all in all, regardless of the carbon footprint, or whether you believe in global warming or not, it sounds interesting. The article doesn’t go into this depth, but I’d make an assumption that you’d be saving a lot of trees that eat CO2, and regardless if you believe in global warming or not, saving trees is OK by me!
Not to mention it’s kind of a cool looking house.
Source: Times Online