[Strawbale] certification of straw bales

asbn asbn at baubiologie.at
Wed Mar 6 19:44:46 CET 2013

Dear Paul

I like straw bales, as I like most of the renewable building materials  
for several reasons:
* because they empower self-building (community) for men AND women  
equally (and even children:-)
* which means lower, more affordable prices for living spaces and  
therefor less banque-credits and trouble and freedom
* because they guarantee more healthy indoor-climates (especially in  
the combination with earthplaster)
* and are a solution against climate change, 20:20 and CO2-reduction  
(what we call green technology)
Yep, there are some more reasons, but these I think are the most  
important to me.

I like the 3.000 EUR round house from Tony Wrench in Wales and his  
I like the self-built hobbit-houses in Denmark and in other countries
I like alternative concepts like No99 straw theatre in Tallin or the  
Stanica Cultural Centre in Zilina, Slovakia
I like loadbearing straw bale houses like the ones in Great Britain,  
Italy, Spain,...
I like the low energy timber&frame constructions with straw bale  
infill like the ones in France, Norway, Germany, Austria, Sweden,...
I like techniques like Tom Rijvens CUT/CTS-system (my favorite system:-)
I like the wrapping-techniques esp. in Slowakia, Czech Republic and  
Great Britain
I like Gernot Minkes vaults and domes in Tamera, Slovakia and Germany
I like the passive houses (esp. in Austria and Germany) insulated with  
straw bales
I like Werner Schmidts and Margaret Schwarz' big-bale houses in  
Switzerland and Italy (sorry South Tyrol)
I like the prefab/modular concepts from tuvalu, ecococon, modcell, eco- 
fab, pailletech,...
I like Europes biggest public straw bale buildings like Le Damaissine,  
S-House, Loma, Zaragoza and the Gateway Building
and I like my own partly workshop partly self-built straw bale office- 
barn and the vault and CUT-walls in my roof...

..because I think, that these all are solutions for better,  
sustainable and/or affordable buildings.

Am I blue-eyed? I don't know.

What I know is, that some of these sustainable houses - depending on  
national building laws and regulations - are built with bales from the  
own harvest,
others from the next farmer, others from bales sold at a merchants,  
others had to be certified or approved (CE), especially the prefab and  
public ones.

The efforts for certification of straw bales were started by FASBA in  
2006, Waldland in 2008 and GrAT in 2010 and some prefab companies like  
mentioned above,
because there was a need for certified building bales in  
prefabrication and public buildings in some countries.

I don't know if that "opens a huge black hole for authorities", I just  
think - no, better I feel - that all this different buildings, systems  
and solutions
show the big variability of natural building materials, and I wish  
deeply, that these solutions can stand in harmony side by side. And  
that we can learn from each other.
Again, I don't know, if this is blue-eyed, maybe? But what would be  
the alternative? To say YES to self-built hobbit houses and NO to  
prefab and innovation?

all the best
asbn - austrian strawbale network

Am 05.03.2013 um 06:50 schrieb paul:

> Hello. Firstly to answer the questions.
> We have basically the same as Norway. We just have to show that the  
> building fits into the regulation codes here and everything is good.
> But what are certified bales and who in the right mind began  
> certifying them in the first place? More over how can you certify a  
> bale? I'm not trying to be rude but isn't that opening up a huge  
> black hole for the authorities to throw strawbale building into? It  
> gives them a lot more power over what we do.
> Here in Finland we just have to go to each individual Kommun  
> inspector and show them that this works. Some are open minded and  
> are all for new ways and its smooth but, some are old and closed  
> minded and don't want to accept it. When we show them that Sb houses  
> fit into the standards they can't say no. They can make it difficult  
> for us but in the end they can't say no. If they get wind of  
> CERTIFIED bales they could have a field day. I think this is the  
> wrong road to travel down. It could even turn willing farmers off  
> wanting to bale as it will be easier to just make bales for animals.  
> Plus it will probably increase the cost of the bales.
> Am I wrong in thinking these things?
> Interesting to hear your answers.
> Thanks
> Best regards,
> Paul Lynch / Manager
> The Natural Building Company Oy
> L&G Pajupuhdistamo Oy
> Dalgatan 10, 10300 Karis

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