Lately I have been reading up on house building techniques and have become enamored with plastered straw bale houses. The practice began in the U.S. in plains of Nebraska in the nineteenth century out of desperation for there were no trees to build housing. Straw bales homes were fairly simple for folks to construct and it turns out the bales were very insulating. It saves on heating and cooling costs as they keep a very consistent temperature year round. The neat thing about straw bales is that they are fire resistant. A plastered wall does not contain enough air to keep a fire going. Also they are good materials to build with in places of high seismic activity. When these simple walls are plastered on both sides they become air tight and keep out moisture and critters. With a good foundation and roof to keep out the elements they can last a very long time. The bales themselves are by products and should definitely be adopted to make low cost, efficient housing as they are in abundance and could be composted back into the earth at the end of their lives. With growing climate change concerns and a cost effective way to build in California I hope the practice becomes a more popular choice!
People say that inside the thick walls feel cozy and quiet.