Straw Research Project
We recognise the climate emergency and the impact the built environment has on the UK’s ability to meet the net zero emissions target set by the current administration. As a practice we are committed to developing sustainable modern architecture and with the opportunity to build a new outbuilding to serve as our new meeting room, we used this as a testbed into the use of natural construction materials.
Our straw room is a self-build project that highlights the ease of building with natural building materials making it an affordable and accessible solution for the UK’s housing needs. The walls are solely load bearing straw bales, with then lime render to both the inside and outside surfaces. This construction technique creates a building envelope that has high thermal mass, high U-value of 0.1 and fantastic acoustic qualities. All the materials we used (straw, sheeps wool, lime render and timber) are low embodied energy materials that create an architecture with health and well-being benefits over traditional construction methods.
Straw bale construction allows for a resoundingly carbon negative building due to the amount of carbon stored in the walls and the low embodied energy of all the materials used. Straw is an abundantly available by product of crop cultivation. It is estimated that each year 5.6 million tonnes of straw is ploughed back in to the ground in the UK. This equates to the rough equivalent of wall materials to build 640,000 homes in the UK.