The world’s leading environmental affairs magazine, now www.theecologist.org, was founded in 1970 by Edward Goldsmith.
Here is an excerpt of the article
Are straw bales the future of sustainable building?
Straw bale is a low impact, low carbon building material making strides towards mainstream acceptance. So is it about time we took notice? Mark Briggs reports
As designers and homeowners look for imaginative ways to help reduce their carbon footprint in the campaign against climate change, straw bale could become a new tool in the building industry’s armory …
The crops that leave the husks that are turned to straw trapped carbon during its growth cycle, and because straw bale can often be sourced locally, its use in buildings is often carbon-neutral and can even be carbon-negative. Once the building is no lo longer required the straw bale can be broken up and will naturally biodegrade. So why aren’t more of us using it? The Maya Guesthouse, situated in the village of Nax in the Swiss Valais [below left], will be the first hotel in Europe to be built entirely from straw bale. Not only are the walls a carbon sink; once complete, the building will require almost no heating, except in the extremes of an Alpine winter. ‘Having straw bale walls means taking hundreds of tons of CO2 from the atmosphere and stocking it for hundreds of years inside the walls,’ notes owner, Louis Papadpoulos. ‘Authorities are more and more open to new building methods. An administration building in Lausanne was constructed with straw bales last year. Straw bale homes can be affordable for many, especially if you wants to build it yourself.’…
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