Everybody wants to save the earth, nobody wants to help mom do the dishes.  --P.J. O'Rourke

Monday, March 23, 2009

Green Building Material of the Day - Compressed Straw SIP (Structural Insulated Panel)

As you may or may not know, people other than the Three Little Pigs have been building houses out of straw for years. Traditional wattle and daub has been used for at least 6,000 years, and of course thatched roofing is very common, and more recently (Late 1800's onwards) with the advent of the hay baler, straw has been used in the form of stacked bales as load bearing exterior walls. Due to lack of available timber, this building method was especially popular in Nebraska and other Midwest states. More recently however modern manufacturing techniques have allowed the development of straw panels made by heating and compressing straw (often without binders) into a thick dense material similar to partical board or MDF. It turns out that straw is a very flexible product that can be formed into many different products, ranging from Drywall and Particle Board substitutes to thick exterior load bearing walls with pre-formed electrical conduits. Not to be confused with hay, straw is the stalk of grain crops such as wheat and rice. Generally straw is either plowed under the soil or burned after the harvest. Straw is resistant to fungus, rot, fire and vermin. Unlike timber it can be regenerated in 6 months rather than decades. Compressed straw has been used for a long time in Britain and the houses have performed well over the years.

For more Info

Straw the Next Great Building Material (Building Green)


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