Be a Little PiggyThursday 5th March 2015
Straw houses may not resist a huffing wolf but they have more benefits than you may think is possible. This is being made apparent by the appropriately named sustainable builders BaleHaus after they recently introduced several Passivhaus-certified, energy efficient straw houses, offering 90% reductions on the heating bills for an average house. The straw element is not some ramshackle, loose wall or roof but prefabricated straw built insulation systems.
So far the houses built range from town and terraced houses and one bedroom apartments, all built by BaleHause, which is a coagulation of three companies: Cadan Developments, White Design and ModCell who have developed the straw insulation systems.
Alongside the straw insulation the energy efficiency and sustainability is added to with photovoltaic arrays on the roof, air source heat pumps, rain water harvesting, triple glazed windows and doors.
You may consider that the wolf would have done better using fire with the straw house rather than blowing - delivering roast pork to boot, so isn’t that a major concern with this development? No it isn’t. A ModCell prefabricated insulation panel put through a fire resistant test came in four times over the UK building regulation target, resisting for two hours!
If the wolf reverted to air movement with a ModCel panel he would need a lot of support, with wind resistance tests of up to 120 mph winds providing no problems.
The panels themselves are well made - a timber frame with a straw bale inside and finished off with a breather board made of wood fibre. When used they can be finished with brick, slate or brick.
The first BaleHaus was developed at Bath University and now serves as an office building, but when it was first built it was in a different location on canvas, being modular it was easy to deconstruct and move, adding another potential link to the three little pigs and the wolf story. Other projects are rolling out across the UK as the successful design becomes recognised for the benefits it delivers.
So don’t huff and puff, be a little piggy in a cheap, green house made of straw.
Thursday 5th March 2015