Economies of Bale
Straw-bale construction a little less marginalized
Straw-bale construction has slowly been catching on in the green-building set, but its positive performance in recent fire, durability, and eco-friendliness tests could take it to the next level. The latest was an independent fire-resistance test, which proved that the material lives up to industry standards when it’s covered with fire-resistant plaster in its use as a building insulator. The test “opens the doors to every realm of construction” for straw bales, said funder Bruce King. Though there are no official stats, it’s estimated that only a few thousand straw-bale buildings exist in the U.S., mostly single-family homes. But as the material proves itself, insurers are more and more likely to insure buildings made with it, and bankers more likely to fund construction with it, allowing schools, businesses, and other structures across the country to insulate with dried grasses instead of typical foam or that creepy, unnaturally pink fiberglass stuff.