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The Straw Bale House - a building innovation

When the fox huffed and puffed the straw house down, it wasn't one of today's environmental masterpieces.

Thirty times more efficient than wood to manufacture, ten times better than double-brick as an insulator, straw bales are today's building innovation.


Put together simply with rebar, chicken-wire and render, today's straw bale house is a lesson in simplicity, functionality and environmental modernism. A renewable resource, straw must be kept dry during construction or it may rot. Structures are built either non-load bearing or load bearing.

Straw Bale Construction

Load bearing         

Care must be taken to consider the possible settling of the straw bales. Typically structures are smaller and simpler, with many properties incorporating designs of a number of smaller structures linked together by walkways or corridors.


Non-Load bearing

A post and beam framework supports the basic structure of the building with the straw bales used as infill. Often building approvals require ‘non-load bearing’ designs.

Putting together the bale walls is fun and fast, but then the rest of the house is usually pretty much the same as any other wood framed house. Care must be taken in finishing - rendering and plastering should be thorough as moisture and rodents can be a problem if everything is not well-sealed.

The width of the straw bales allow other design brushstrokes such as broad window seats, beautiful corners or long wall benches.

The cost of a straw bale house ranges from $100 per square metre for owner builders, up to $1000+ per square metre for architect designed houses. The result is an incredibly beautiful straw bale home, that feels fantastic and has insulation properties that are simply in a category of their own.

To learn more

Straw bale building is fun and fast. Many people pick up enough to build their own straw bale house in a 2 day workshop. Australia has some fantastic straw bale builders.


Huff 'n' Puff Strawbale Constructions run three-day workshops for groups of 15-30 people, costing $330. They can also help you answer any questions your council might ask. Phone: (02) 6927 6027, or visit their website at run on-site workshops for up to seven days, and people can join on any day. The cost is $25 per day. Phone: (03) 5476 2027 for further details.


Straw Bale Building

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