Description of ChallengeTo construct safe affordable housing that meets the criteria: Materials:local, natural, low embodied energy, renewable, easily transported, recyclable, de-constructable Energy efficient in hot and cold environments using passive solar, bioclimatic design Earthquake resilience, fire proof, termite proof Can be constructed by people with limited building experience. Wide roof overhangs and high foundations make them appropriate in all climates
I realized we must re-perceive our lives and our well-being as irretrievably connected to all other life on the planets. For us, it was, and is, important to make straw bale construction widely accessible as a transformative experience, as well as a way to make simple, livable homes available at a cost both people and the planet can afford.” Judy Knox whom together with Matts Myrman started the straw bale construction resurgence.
Straw bale construction began, following the invention of the modern straw baler, in 1896. Construction began in Nebraska, USA and spread across North America through the 1930’s. A worldwide resurgence of straw bale construction began in the 1990’s. Well designed and built straw bale houses are energy efficient, long lasting and environmentally sound.
The EcoCampus Straw Bale Domes at Kibbutz Lotan’s Center for Creative Ecology are a site specific solution. The domes’ internal structure is a hand formed geodesic dome of galvanized steel pipe. The structure makes the dome earthquake proof. The earth plastered straw bales passed a 3 hour fire test of the Standards Institute of Israel. The bales are superb insulation. The buildings need to heating in the winter due to south facing double glazed windows. Summer electricity use for air conditioning in the extreme desert climate is half that of conventional buildings. They were built by community members and volunteers.