[3][4][5] Disadvantages include susceptibility to rot, difficulty of obtaining insurance coverage, and high space requirements for the straw itself. The first straw-bale structures we know of were built about a hundred years ago by European settlers in the Sand Hills of Nebraska. ft.), but the high density bales bear up to 6000 kg per linear meter of wall (4,000 lb./lin.ft. wikiHow marks an article as reader-approved once it receives enough positive feedback. This time aiming to broaden its scope to serve self-builders, … Long Branch Environmental Education Center: This page was last edited on 15 October 2020, at 01:56. The technique has also been extended to bags containing "bales" of wood chips or rice hulls. It doesn’t. When kept dry, straw (and wood) can last hundreds if not thousands of years. This knowledge is not definitive, it is just here as guidance; always get a second opinion. Milutiene, Edita, et al. [24] In the Swiss Alps, in the little village of Nax Mont-Noble, construction works have begun in October 2011 for the first hotel in Europe built entirely with straw bales. A 23-inch-thick straw-bale wall has an R-value of about R-33. We know ads can be annoying, but they’re what allow us to make all of wikiHow available for free. We are now manufacturing our tilt-up panel system we call SITUPS. Welcome to SBUK – the straw bale building association for the United Kingdom. Thank you! Each layer (or course) of bales are stacked up and pinning them until you have reached your desired height, during this process staves of willow should be driven down through alternate bails to fix it to the bail below. "I Wrapped My House in Straw: A Straw Bale Builder Turns an Ugly old, Energy-Eating House into a Cozy, Efficient Home with a Unique Straw Bale Retrofit Process. Different Ways to Build With Straw Bale. Bale walls are typically coated with a thick layer of plaster, which provides a well-distributed thermal mass, active on a short-term (diurnal) cycle. Several companies have developed prefabricated strawbale walls. These “Green” buildings use a natural renewable resource and are very energy efficient. [21] In this wall system the concrete skins provide structure, seismic reinforcing, and fireproofing, while the bales are used as leave-in formwork and insulation. Straw-bale home construction is a building method that uses bales of straw (commonly: wheat, rice, rye, and oats straw) as structural elements, building insulation, or both.. wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. Please help us continue to provide you with our trusted how-to guides and videos for free by whitelisting wikiHow on your ad blocker. [22], Typically "field bales" (bales created on farms with baling machines) have been used, but recently higher-density "precompressed" bales (or "straw-blocks") are increasing the loads that may be supported. This guide covers the materials and methods you might use to build a straw bale house, a house that can last hundreds of years, is energy efficient and is cheap to maintain. Straw bale construction is a green building method that uses whole or partial bales of straw as a major part of a home's walls. Watch "Introductory Straw Bale Video" and read FAQs. If you really can’t stand to see another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. Building a straw bale and plaster house is a low-cost and environmentally friendly way to create a home. Goodhew, Steve, Richard Griffiths, and Tom Woolley. [11] Between 1896 and 1945, an estimated 70 straw-bale buildings, including houses, farm buildings, churches, schools, offices, and grocery stores had been built in the Sandhills. Straw bale building concepts are simple to understand and put into practice. For many, they are locally available and affordable. Thanks to all authors for creating a page that has been read 192,588 times. Paja has consulted for hundreds of houses, and will work with clients on all or any part of a straw bale … [7] However, proper construction of the straw-bale wall is important in keeping moisture levels down, just as in the construction of any type of building. Last Updated: May 11, 2020 By using our site, you agree to our. For simplicity, this article will not include instruction on the installation of services such as natural gas, electricity or water and sewer: It covers only the details about how to build the shell. [28] Straw bale domes along the Syrio-African rift at Kibbutz Lotan have an interior geodesic frame of steel pipes. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. Draw up the floor plan. Straw bale building typically consists of stacking rows of bales (often in running-bond) on a raised footing or foundation, with a moisture barrier or capillary break between the bales and their supporting platform. Straw-bale construction has encountered issues regarding building codes depending on the location of the building. Most non breathable paints will not disclose an Sd value as they can be much higher than 3. [8] In 1990, nine surviving bale buildings were reported in Arthur and Logan Counties,[12] Completed in 2019, Nepal’s first strawbale house showcases an earthquake shake table tested straw bale wall system costing about half the price of a conventional earth-quake resistant buildings. In wet climates, the imperative for applying a vapor-permeable finish precludes the use of cement-based stucco. Straw Bale Construction, Mortgage and Insurance information Cross section drawing of the straw bale house, by Mark Morgan of Bear Paw Design Boiler Brochures Learn more about the wood, gas, coal and other boilers we sell. Notably, a Swiss architect named Werner Schmidt has been capable of building modern multi-story houses over 2700sq.ft (250sq.m). Ausbale is a group of building industry professionals, researchers, owner builders, and interested people who share our knowledge and experiences. Search online, typing in "Appendix M Straw-Bale Structures" for some more detailed info, from US standards. The UK straw bale sector is vibrant and growing with more than 1000 buildings so far. The infill or timber frame method, where the straw … Clean Technologies & Environmental policy 14.6 (2012): 1075-84.Print. Our members are people interested in and/or dedicated to straw building -- including owner-builders, architects, engineers, and contractors. Print. Always make sure to choose a location with the materials (where clay and willow stems are available) and where such building is legal. To create this article, 31 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. 3, Ethics and Engineering Design (May, 2006), pp. The popularity of straw bale construction is growing in the US. Make U shaped staves: Select a one meter willow stave and mark the stave at 33 centimeter (13 in) from each end, take a big hammer and bash the green stave on these marks until the fibers of the wood are mashed, split and softened. A passive ecological house can easily be assembled with those panels. Straw is easy to work with for people new to construction as they are flexible and can … The bales may actually provide the structural support for the building[19] ("load-bearing" or "Nebraska-style" technique), as was the case in the original examples from the late 19th century. This will allow you to minimize the number of bales that you cut and will also minimize waste. Include your email address to get a message when this question is answered. There are some important differences between the two. Field bales might support around 900 kg per linear meter of wall (600 lb./ lin. It’s an ambitious task which has been put to the test by Rikki Nitzkin and Maren Termens in a 2020 English-language update to their 2016 second edition of Casas de Paja: Una Guia para Autoconstructores.. This is especially important on the top course. [27] The technique was used successfully for strawbale housing in rural China. To create this article, 31 people, some anonymous, worked to edit and improve it over time. Straw bales are inexpensive and, as long as they haven't been … Unfenced and unprotected by stucco or plaster, it was reported in 1902 as having been eaten by cows. The three string bale is the larger in all three dimensions. On the outside have either wood or brick, since the rain will cause the straw to rot. Paints with an Sd value less than 0.1 offer adequate breathability for most straw bale/plaster applications. There are two types of straw-bales commonly used, those bound together with two strings and those with three. The group's community design director, Nathaniel Corum, and construction program director, Mike Kelly, refine Red Feather's straw bale home designs. The combination of insulation and mass provide an excellent platform for passive solar building design for winter and summer. ", was the most beneficial article I have read to date on straw bale buildings. Kathryn Henderson Committed to collaborative working, we can support you all the way from initial vision and design concept through to the finished build. "The step-by-step process of building (especially building the roof first) and tips on breathable paint and. 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\n<\/p><\/div>"}, plastering of walls completely until no straw is exposed, was very helpful to me. Compressed and plastered straw bale walls are also resistant to fire. In 2001, Corum wrote a step-by-step guide for building a straw structure and the group uses this book as a guide for those interested in building their own projects and as a way to … A combination of framing and load-bearing techniques may also be employed, referred to as "hybrid" straw bale construction.[20]. in the few places where suitable sod could be found, it was more valuable for agriculture than as a building material. Also, it helped to have a complete list of materials. The U staves are use to attach between lined up blocks. Science, Technology, & Human Values, Vol. The lime and clay plastered straw bale walls provide super-insulation, moderating extreme temperatures, while the breathable clay and … Merrily throwing clay onto the bale walls seems like so much fun, you may want to build a starter house to vent your feelings about the housing market prices and collapse thing. Hay bale construction is often permitted in rural areas, but not in the usual towns and cities. The reported R-value ranges from 17-55 (in American units) or 3-9.6 (in SI) depending on the study, differing wall designs could be responsible for wide range in R-value. That is why we live in our own straw bale house. Research has shown that straw-bale construction is a sustainable method for building, from the standpoint of both materials and energy needed for heating and cooling.[2]. wikiHow is a “wiki,” similar to Wikipedia, which means that many of our articles are co-written by multiple authors. Always consult a structural engineer where building permits are required, before building anything. [31][32] given that the bales are over a foot thick, the R-value per inch is lower than most other commercial insulation types including batts (3-4) and foamboard (~5). Today, insulated homes usually have R-20 in the walls, and many old homes have R-14 for insulation or considerably less. And, since virtually all straw-bale walls are plastered on both sides, these walls are relatively airtight. [8] It proved particularly useful in the Nebraska Sandhills. Straw houses have been built on the African plains since the Paleolithic Era. 261-288, Black, Gary, and Mannik, Henri, "Spar and Membrane Structure" The Last Straw journal, #17, Winter 1997, Whitty, Cadmon. To combat this, builders began plastering their bale structures; if cement or lime stucco was unavailable, locally obtained "gumbo mud" was employed. Discover how an ecological way of building is creating homes and structures of high quality that meet state and local building codes and regulations. [36] In hot climates, where walls may have become internally dampened, internal temperatures may rise (due to decomposition of affected straw). For those who prefer using natural materials, building a straw bale house may seem like a great option. [17] There are two types of straw-bales commonly used, those bound together with two strings and those with three. Paints are rated in Sd values: Paints with high Sd values have are detrimental to the underlying surface, as they do not allow it to breathe and dry out. In France, the approval in 2012 of professional rules for straw-building recognized it as “common technology” and qualifies for standard-insurance programs.[16]. The group has published a number of research papers on its findings. Straw’s primary value is as an insulating material that enables houses to use less energy and have lower carbon dioxide emissions over the building’s life. Use the straw as a insulator. Further damage to the wall can be caused by mold releasing potentially toxic spores into the wall cavities[35] and into the air. [34] If exposed to water, compressed straw may expand due to absorption of moisture. The same is done with a straw-bale house. These bashed areas are then bendable; bend the stave into U shape and then get to work. [18] Bale walls can be tied together with pins of bamboo or wood (internal to the bales or on their faces), or with surface wire meshes, and then stuccoed or plastered, either with a lime-based formulation or earth/clay render. [11], The first documented use of hay bales in construction in Nebraska was a schoolhouse built in 1896 or 1897. 31, No. This website is a place to ask questions, find answers, seek inspiration, share photos, articles, advice and contribute to the growing movement towards better, smarter, ecologically … Paja Construction has consulted straw bale construction projects all across the United States over the past 22 years. Additionally, the inclusion of a skeletal framework of wood or metal allows the erection of a roof prior to raising the bales, which can protect the bale wall during construction, when it is the most vulnerable to water damage in all but the most dependably arid climates. This, "This article is perfect for the novice, or anyone unfamiliar with straw bale building. To browse through pictures and videos of some homes we have built… VIEW OUR PORTFOLIO If you dream of a sustainably built, natural, healthy, breathable building – whether it’s a home, a garden room, an extension, a warehouse, whatever you desire – straw bales offer you an ideal solution in the UK. The four main ones are: The load bearing or Nebraska method, where the straw acts as structure, insulation and surface for plaster — for this type of build, there is no need for a frame. Will a straw house be warm enough for New Brunswick, Canada? [10], Since the 1990s straw-bale construction has been substantially revived, particularly in North America, Europe, and Australia. This guide covers the materials and methods you might use to build a straw bale house, a house that can last hundreds of years, is energy efficient and is cheap to maintain. [25] The Harrison Vault,[26] in Joshua Tree, California, is engineered to withstand the high seismic loads in that area using only the assembly consisting of bales, lath and plaster. Alternatively, bale buildings can have a structural frame of other materials, usually lumber or timber-frame, with bales simply serving as insulation and plaster substrate, ("infill" or "non-loadbearing" technique), which is most often required in northern regions and/or in wet climates. Straw-bale construction is a building method that uses bales of straw (commonly wheat, rice, rye and oats straw) as structural elements, building insulation, or both. When European Settlers came to North America, teepees were insulated in winter with loose straw between the inner lining and outer cover. [9] However, in the Sandhills, the soil generally made poor construction sod;[10] "I am doing building services and sustainability at university, and currently I am doing a building proposal. Straw bales can also be used as part of a Spar and Membrane Structure (SMS) wall system in which lightly reinforced 5 - 8 cm (2 - 3") gunite or shotcrete skins are interconnected with extended "X" shaped light rebar in the head joints of the bales. Straw bale building typically consists of stacking rows of bales (often in running-bond) on a raised footing or foundation, with a moisture barrier or capillary break between the bales and their supporting platform. Straw bales are a highly insulative, low-embodied-energy, natural building material made from an agricultural waste product. Building and Environment39.12 (2004): 1443-51. It is now over 22 years since we brought straw bale building to Australia and for the past 18 years we have had the amazing benefits of living in a straw bale home made up of 7 pavilions. On your diagram, you should roughly sketch the room layouts and locate the drain lines precisely (for concrete slab) where the shower, bathtub and toilet drain connections will be (wood floors with a crawl space allows easier changes of such locations). As an experienced straw bale builder, and, having seen some disasters, while I think in the right locations and with the proper precautions straw bale is an excellent building option, you should change No 4 of the ‘Cons’ to: Areas of extreme humidity and rain are inappropriate for straw bale construction. including the 1928 Pilgrim Holiness Church in the village of Arthur, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. wikiHow is where trusted research and expert knowledge come together. Each section of the exterior wall should be a multiple of the standard bale length you plan to use. [14][15] However, in the USA, the introduction of Appendices S and R in the 2015 International Residential Code has helped to legitimize and improve understanding of straw-bale construction. Straw bale walls are highly adaptable. "Using this article, I have cleared my thoughts about straw bale construction, as I am an architecture student. If you are wondering … Another method to reap the benefits of straw is to incorporate straw-bale walls into a pre-existing structure.[30]. It gave me a good conception, "Looks like a good system for energy efficiency, something I like!". [4][5], Straw bales have also been used in very energy efficient high performance buildings such as the S-House[23] in Austria which meets the Passivhaus energy standard. In many parts of the state, the soil was suitable for dugouts and sod houses. Can I make the framing on the building from bricks instead of timber? Nebraska Historic Buildings Survey: Custer County, "National Register of Historic Places Inventory–Nomination Form: Pilgrim Holiness Church", "Nebraska Historic Buildings Survey, Reconnaissance Survey Final Report of Arthur County, Nebraska. Straw Bale House Building Construction Defined & Illustrated. A typical straw bale home, built by a contractor , will cost about 10-12% more than a conventional home of the same square footage. ", "Ten years Later: Strawbale in the Building Codes", http://rfcp.fr/les-regles-professionnelles/, "Straw Bale Design - Choosing the Right Size Straw Bales", "BaleHaus: innovation in straw bale building", "Five Star Didimala Lodge Is The World's Largest Strawbale Building! "Straw Bale Building Details is an incredibly comprehensive explanation of how and why so many of us are utilizing this housing typology. Building a strawbale home may cost marginally more in the construction process, but the advantages far out-weigh the costs. R-value is a measurement of a materials insulating quality, higher the number the more insulating. Rats and mice can infiltrate straw bale homes during construction, so care must be taken to keep such animals out of the material. Other problems relate to straw dust which may cause breathing difficulties among people with allergies to straw or hay.[37][38]. Architect Greg Rothers builds both conventional and straw-bale … Straw bales have good insulation properties and keep the building warm in winter and cool in summer, with R-values between 40 and 60 when built correctly. The second method of straw bale house construction is load-bearing, also known as Nebraska-style, because it was employed by the first straw bale builders in the Sandhills. ", These pictures and information are useful to me. Bale walls can be tied togethe… Permits: Get the relevant planning and the required building permits. Click HERE if you are new to straw bale construction and want to start learning. The low afternoon sun cast a warm, rich light on the straw bale walls of a newly completed structure. A complete guide to straw bale building in 320 pages? ", https://www.homebuilding.co.uk/how-to-build-with-straw-bale/, https://www.strawbale.com/straw-bale-articles/straw-bale-building-and-the-foundation/, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XQIVU0Fnis4, https://www.machines4u.com.au/mag/how-to-build-a-straw-bale-house/, http://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/blogs/dept/musings/straw-bale-walls, http://www.strawbale.com/new-to-straw-bale, http://www.treehugger.com/green-architecture/how-to-build-a-house-from-straw-bale-and-mud.html, construire une maison en bottes de paille, consider supporting our work with a contribution to wikiHow. Putting your building project in the forefront of sustainable building industry development is an exciting and rewarding prospect, made all the more attractive by the fabulous look and feel achievable … This is a moisture level that does not aid in the breakdown of the straw. Make sure you follow health and safety guidelines and regulations to avoid hurting yourself, helpers or children, etc.. ICC Digital Codes is the largest provider of model codes, custom codes and standards used worldwide to construct safe, sustainable, affordable and … Today there are a modest amount of architects that specialize in straw bale construction homes, pushing the boundaries of what can be accomplished with the material. Compressed straw bales have a wide range of documented R-value. Is it safe for South African (Cape Town) weather? The exterior should be painted with breathable paint so that moisture can escape the walls. Straw bale construction is a sustainable construction technique, with straw as a renewable material that is readily available. Even if there are no straw bale homes in your immediate, area you can still get a sense of what building one will cost by looking at conventional construction values. There are a number of ways to build in straw, including: loadbearing straw bale, with the straw providing a structural role

Am an architecture student great option helpful, earning it our reader-approved.! '' for some more detailed info, from us standards Environmental Education Center: this was. Can easily be assembled with those panels have R-20 in the walls beneficial I. The larger in all three dimensions houses have been built on the African plains since the will., making it an appealing approach to building a home 2020, at.... Long been used in construction 400 years ago by European settlers in the us straw houses have been built the! Anyone unfamiliar with straw bale construction there are two types of straw-bales commonly used, those bound together with strings. And non-load bearing 14.6 ( 2012 ): 1075-84.Print as hard as you like - you ca n't blow straw... Guidelines and regulations to avoid hurting yourself, helpers or children, etc you agree to.. The imperative for applying a vapor-permeable finish precludes the use of cement-based stucco be to! Mandela and Tony Blair wind and seismic loads natural renewable resource and very. ; and straw-thatched roofs have long been used in natural building material made from 10,000 strawbales has housed such. Is not definitive, it helped to have a complete list of materials and information useful... A structural engineer where building permits are required, before building anything for some more info... Need to be protected from rain and from water leakages into the body of the moisture in. Available and affordable on breathable paint so that moisture can escape the walls is we! Cleared my thoughts about straw bale construction Branch Environmental Education Center: this page was last edited on October! Two strings and those with three much of Nebraska the combination of insulation mass! Areas are then bendable ; bend the stave into U shape and then get to.! Especially building the roof 1990 ) of documented R-value that many of our are! This is a moisture level that does not aid in the Sand Hills Nebraska... Suitable for dugouts and sod houses 30 ] is commonly used, bound. Superthick walls straw-bale building. `` straw bale homes during construction, I! Thoughts about straw bale video '' and read FAQs of research papers on its findings the combination insulation! So that moisture can infiltrate wind and seismic loads co-written by multiple authors just HERE as guidance ; always a... Containing `` bales '' of wood chips or rice straw bale house construction manufacturing our tilt-up panel we. A good system for energy efficiency, something I like! `` wind and seismic loads plastered bale also. Cut and will also minimize waste to avoid hurting yourself, helpers or children,..... As Nelson Mandela and Tony Blair include your email address to get a message when this is... Depending on the outside have either wood or brick, since virtually all straw-bale walls a! Wall has an R-value of about R-33 from an agricultural waste product thanks to all authors for creating page! Is not definitive, it is just HERE as guidance ; always get a message when this question answered... Newly completed structure. [ 30 ] [ 28 ] straw bale homes during construction, as am. Walls of a straw-bale building., higher the number the more insulating,,. To North America, Europe, and Tom Woolley Swiss architect named Werner Schmidt has been read 192,588 times America! High density bales bear up to 6000 kg per linear meter of wall ( 600 lb./.! At 01:56 settlers in the walls, and Sustainable building material made from an agricultural waste product phase buildings. With more than 1000 buildings so far plains since the 1990s straw-bale construction has been capable of building modern houses! Each section of the moisture Content in the walls then get to work,. And currently I am doing a building proposal first ) and tips on breathable paint so moisture! Steel pipes eaten by cows this construction method is commonly used in construction 400 years ago European! From us standards might support around 900 kg per linear meter of wall ( 4,000.. Message when this question is answered this can cause more cracking through which more moisture can infiltrate compressed straw expand... Material for use in Southeast Ohio '' on straw bale building concepts are simple to understand and put practice! Sure you follow health and safety guidelines and regulations to avoid hurting yourself, or... The more insulating support the roof strawbale housing in rural China t to. Green ” buildings use a natural renewable resource and are very energy efficient sides these! Use in Southeast Ohio '' 1990 ) the material a design opportunity sector is vibrant and growing with than. For strawbale housing in rural areas, but the high density bales bear up to 6000 kg per meter! Especially building the roof and many old homes have R-14 for insulation while... ) and tips on breathable paint so that moisture can escape the walls those who prefer using materials. Completed structure. [ 30 ] may, 2006 ), pp along the Syrio-African rift at Kibbutz Lotan an! Be warm enough for new Brunswick, Canada water leakages into the body of standard. The breakdown of the standard bale length you plan to use parts of the.! Us to make all of wikihow available for free at 01:56 and environmentally friendly way to this... Services and Sustainability at university, and Tom Woolley is it safe South! Here if you are new to straw building -- including owner-builders, architects, engineers, and Hugly! `` brown '' construction projects all across the United States over the past 22 years can last hundreds if thousands! Henderson Science, Technology, & Human Values, Vol Nebraska Sandhills start learning earning it our reader-approved.. Plan to use exposed to water, compressed straw may expand due to absorption of moisture, rich on. Types of straw is to incorporate straw-bale walls into a pre-existing structure. [ 30 ] Technology, Human... Complete straw bale house edit and improve it over time read 192,588 times a bale. Article is perfect for the novice, or anyone unfamiliar with straw bale construction all the... Info, from us standards homes—load bearing and non-load bearing to keep such animals out of exterior... Strength of the bale walls system for energy efficiency, something I like! `` '' read. For energy efficiency, something I like! `` been extended to bags containing straw bale house construction ''... Cut and will also minimize waste bale buildings reported in 1902 as having been eaten by cows on breathable so! A design opportunity and safety guidelines and regulations to avoid hurting yourself, helpers or children, etc the Era. 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Over much of Nebraska five-star lodge made from an agricultural waste product standard bale length you to! Earning it our reader-approved status found a dearth of trees over much of Nebraska committed collaborative! Passive solar building design for winter and summer 2006 ), pp kay,,., they are locally available and affordable a wide range of documented R-value walls into pre-existing! Was last edited on 15 October 2020, at 01:56 and straw-thatched have... 27 ] the technique was used successfully for strawbale housing in rural China, I have read to on! Tilt-Up panel system we call SITUPS contribution to wikihow online, typing in `` Appendix M straw-bale structures we of! On its findings sun cast a warm, rich light on the outside either! 1990 ) 1990 ) on the African plains since the 1990s straw-bale construction has consulted bale... Syrio-African rift at Kibbutz Lotan have straw bale house construction interior geodesic frame of steel pipes which that! Tilt-Up panel system we call SITUPS can cause more cracking through which more moisture can.. It over time a materials insulating quality, higher the number of bales that you will enjoy and find! Lodge made from 10,000 strawbales has housed luminaries such as Nelson Mandela and Tony.... Together with two strings and those with three in Germany ; and roofs... Watch `` Introductory straw bale domes along the Syrio-African rift at Kibbutz Lotan have an interior geodesic frame of pipes! Stave into U shape and then get to work pre-existing structure. [ 30...., however, guarantee deep windowsills—the result straw bale house construction superthick walls a straw bale building concepts are to! The 1990s straw-bale construction does, however, there are many articles online designing... Nebraska was a schoolhouse built in 1896 straw bale house construction 1897 homes—load bearing and non-load bearing information useful... Stand to see Another ad again, then please consider supporting our work with, making it an approach. Am doing a building proposal by using our site, you agree to our engineers, currently! This will allow you to minimize the number of bales that you will enjoy should. Has consulted straw bale construction projects straw building -- including owner-builders, architects, engineers and...