Natural Building: The Viability of Straw Bale as a Sustainable Construction Material for the Future

Apr 06, 2015

By taking a values-based approach that integrates social and ecological good with health, resource efficiency, and durability, the paper advocates for future material-technology research to re-examine natural and sustainable building techniques through systems thinking and a holistic approach towards design and the building process. In doing so, the paper examines the viability of straw bale as a sustainable material-technology. Related to straw bale wall systems, the research paper explores concepts related with its building science including straw stalk, structural system, stud framing, pony wall, wall cavity, and base plaster. In terms of building performance, three characteristics are examined - thermal capacity, moisture performance, and fire resistance. Material presented herein, has been largely gleaned from first-hand experience while working with experts on a straw bale structure at Yestermorrow Design/Build School in Vermont.

keywords: Sustainability, Natural Building, Straw Bale

Arsenio Rodrigues (Prairie View A&M University)
Presented at: 
ARCC 2015 Conference – The FUTURE of Architectural Research (Chicago, IL)
Published & professionally reviewed by: 
Architectural Research Centers Consortium (ARCC)
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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