Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to our most frequently asked questions:
Why build with straw bale?
Being acutely aware of the 'not so good' state of our beautiful planet, we wanted to minimise our impacts on the environment whilst building our house - these are just some of the big pluses of straw bale building.
* low embodied energy in the bales - it's a by-product or waste product from producing crops like wheat (ie not a great deal of energy has gone into making them)
* very forgiving building material and method for owner builders (ie make a mistake and it's fairly easy to fix)
* provides amazing insulative qualities to the house ie warm in winter, cool in summer
* has great sound-proofing
* is less expensive when owner-building
* allows for lots of creativity ie wall thickness, curves, alcoves & shelves in the wall etc
* curves create a fantastic feeling - they are lovely houses to be in!
* we reckon they look fantastic
* anyone can help build, it's not hugely complex
How long did it take to build?
We started building in late October 2008, and we got our certificate of occupancy early March 2010. This was with Peter working full time (mostly 5/6 days per week) for all but 3.5 months on the house - and we had HEAPS of help from other generous people. Except for a few jobs, like plumbing, roofing and electrical, we did everything ourselves.
How much did it cost to build?
It has cost around 170k to build. This is excluding the pre-building costs (like trench digging for electrical and plumbing, fees and documentation/application work).
How much experience did you guys have in building a house?
Very little. Natasha did a 4 day course with Brian from Anvill in April 2006, Peter had some experience in helping a friend Ari build her straw bale house mid 2008, but apart from that, nothing. Prior to this, Peter had only picked up a hammer to put a nail in the wall to hang a picture. Brian was our building consultant and we would be lost without his guidance.
How did you build your external walls?
We have just added another section with details about this. Click here.
What are your internal walls like? Are they made of straw?
Yes, most of our internal walls are stud framed walls with chicken wire stapled either side, with straw stuffed in between. Brian Hodge developed this idea/method, and has called it a Kram wall.