BROWNSVILLE, Ore. (KMTR) – Putting a different spin on energy efficiency in Linn County, a Brownsville couple is finishing up work on a new house that will be insulated with straw, which could help them save thousands of dollars in energy costs.
Friday, June 3rd, 2011, a group of international volunteers organized through the website “Strawbale.com” began stuffing the Brownsville home with straw. The home is framed with wood. The straw bales will be used as an insulation or filler for the walls.
Cheryl & Don Haworth own the home, which has been under construction for about 10 months. For the last several years, the Haworth's have been hoping to move in to a straw bale insulated home.
“We visited a strawbale house out of a Medford and once we went inside, we just fell in love,” said Cheryl Haworth.
Since then, the Haworth's have been working with the “Strawbale.com” group to help others insulate their home with straw. The website organizes week on long classes where participants learn about and go hands on with the process of insulating a home with straw.
While the idea of using straw as insulation might seem a little odd or raise questions, straw bale home enthusiasts insist on the differences between conventional insulation versus straw.
“It's such a nice feeling inside, all of the sound is muffled, and you're like you're in your own little world, the temperature is very constant, and it's just a very peaceful feeling,” say Haworth.
One of the largest differences is energy savings. Contractors are estimating that the Haworth's will use 75% less energy to heat and cool their home.
Once the home's frame is stuffed with straw, it will be covered with a lime-based plaster, allowing the straw's natural moisture level to remain constant, keeping the straw fresh and free of pests, rodents, fire exposure and other elements.
Andrew Morrison runs “Strawbale.com,” organizing the classes the website offers as well.
Morrison says the benefits of straw filled homes are huge from the environment, to comfort, to energy savings.
“It's a quality environmental way to build using a waste product that's usually burned in the fields, and you're getting a house that's giving you about 3 times the fire resistance, 3 times the energy efficiency of a conventional home, totally sound proof, really beautiful home, so that's the sort of why do straw house building,” says Morrison.
Insulating a home with straw can cost about 15 to 20 percent more than conventional materials.
If you want to learn more about straw bale homes, visit the following website: http://www.strawbale.com.