Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust
A Yorkshire Agricultural Society Award
Why Build with Straw?
1 Executive Summary 2 Introduction 2.1 History of straw bale building 2.2 My background 2.3 An overview of my study 1 3 3 3 4 6 7 8 9 10 10 11 12 12 13 14 15 15 16 17 17 18 19 20 20 21 22 22 23 24 24 25 25
3 Visits in the straw bale world 3.1 European Straw Bale Conference 3.2 Buildwell Conference, San Francisco 3.3 Rural straw bale home north of San Francisco 3.4 Straw bale bedrooms at Commonweal Garden, Bolinas, California 3.5 Ridge Winery, Lytton Springs, California 3.6 Straw bale showroom, Hopland, California 3.7 Andrew Morrison, training straw bale builders 3.8 Straw bale house, Cottage Grove, Oregon 3.9 The Living Building Institute 3.10 The Lone Oak, Lincoln, Nebraska 3.11 Visitor centre, Spring Creek Prairie, Lincoln 3.12 School, Roca, near Lincoln 3.13 Test centre at University of Manitoba 3.14 Straw bale home near Winnipeg, Manitoba 3.15 Straw bale home near Steinbach, Manitoba 3.16 Straw bale home near Guelph, Ontario 3.17 Prefabricated straw bale house near Hillsburgh, Ontario 3.18 Student accommodation, Cambridge, Ontario 3.19 Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario 3.20 Straw extension, Guelph, Ontario 3.21 Straw bale house nearing completion at Guelph, Ontario 3.22 Big bale holiday home, Disentis, Switzerland 3.23 Holiday apartments, Lana, Italy 3.24 Third storey extension near Meran, Italy 3.25 Straw bale roof insulation, Vienna, Austria 3.26 Insulating a Yurt near Bratislava, Slovakia 3.27 Discussion
4. Energy and carbon ‐ an overview 4.1 Energy 4.2 Carbon
27 27 29 31 31 32 33 36 38 39 41 43 44 46 47 48 54 58
5. Energy and carbon ‐ the effects of what we do with straw 5.1 Incorporation in soil 5.2 Animal feed and bedding 5.3 Burning straw for energy 5.4 Building with straw bales 5.5 Processing straw 5.6 Summary of the main carbon impacts 5.7 Other straw issues
6. Conclusions 7. Recommendations 8. What next? 9. Thanks and Acknowledgments APPENDIX A : Straw bale itinerary in date order APPENDIX B : The accidental itinerary ‐ Sustainable Agriculture ‐ in date order APPENDIX C : Straw bale building ‐ FAQs
Disclaimer This report, its conclusions and recommendations, are my own views and not necessarily a reflection of the views of The Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust or the Yorkshire Agricultural Society.
Why build with straw? A Nuffield Farming Scholarships Report by Carol Atkinson
1. Executive Summary
Straw is remarkably strong and durable. It is practical and functional yet can be beautiful and stylish. It’s renewable, locally available, cost effective and plentiful. But most importantly, it is a material with very low embodied energy, it reduces the energy demand of a building because of its super‐insulating properties and it locks up carbon for the life of the building (which when designed and built well, can be a very long time). I was already convinced of this before I applied for my Nuffield Scholarship. My question was “how could I convince others of the benefits of building with straw?” As I travelled through the United States of America, Canada and mainland Europe, meeting many inspiring straw bale builders, the similarities became apparent. They were all, in their own quiet but determined way, dedicated to a more sustainable lifestyle, pushing the boundaries, continually questioning, expanding their knowledge and ...
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