Inevitable - post industrial Britain is here at last

Gerrard Winstanley office at
Wed Jan 28 01:19:48 GMT 2009

Britain's first council house made out of... straw

By Daily Mail Reporter - click link for pictures
Last updated at 12:15 PM on 27th January 2009

Britain's first council houses made out of straw are to be built in a
bid to cut costs and energy consumption.

The six semi-detached homes will be built from 500 bales but will be
indistinguishable from normal homes because of their lime-washed walls.

At £60,000, the three-bed properties will cost £20,000 less to build
than a conventional house.
North Kesteven County Council says the straw homes similar to the one
pictured will cost £20,000 less to build than a conventional house

North Kesteven County Council says the straw homes, similar to the one
pictured, will cost £20,000 less to build than a conventional house

They are being built as an 'experiment' by North Kesteven County
Council, Lincs., to cut construction costs and meet energy consumption

Marion Brighton, leader of the council, said straw with its
exceptional heating properties had massive potential.

She said: 'It's all about affordability, sustainability and cutting
down energy consumption. It's the first time it has ever been tried in
the UK.

'The straw houses tick all the boxes - cost and energy efficiency.
Also, we have a lot of straw in the area. It makes sense to make use
of it.

'The properties will look similar to conventional council properties
except the outer walls will be whitewashed with lime rather than red

'We hope to continue building with straw and to encourage other
councils to follow suit.' 

Two semi-detached units each containing two three bed properties are
due to be built in the village of Martin, Lincs., in April.

Construction of a further one semi-detached unit is set to start later
in the year in Waddington, Lincs.

A spokeswoman for architects Amazon Nails, Todmorden, York., said
household bills for the straw homes, said to have a lifespan of 100
years, will be low.

The houses will be on the National Grid but gas would only be supplied
for cooking.

The straw walls will be airtight and superinsulated and natural light
will be used to maximise warmth.

Each property will have a wood burning stove for the very coldest
winter spells.

The houses have been designed by architects Amazon Nails and are set
to be built by construction company A Hacker & Son, of Sleaford, Lincs..

David Hacker said: 'It's an incredible exciting venture. It will be
the first time we will have built using straw and will involve
intensive training. We hope it will be the future.'

Amazon Nails was founded by director Barbara Jones in Wales in 1996.
It has since been involved in the construction of more than 250 straw
bale properties from homes to agricultural buildings.

Materials for a house built with straw bales cost about the same as
for a conventional timber-frame house but less than brick and block.

There are more than 2 million tons of straw a year surplus to
requirements in the UK. This is sufficient to build 250,000 homes a year.

Building with straw began in North America in the mid-1800s. Pioneers
arriving on the Nebraska plains used straw bales from the newly
invented baling machine.

More information about the Diggers350 mailing list