When compared to other construction methods, straw bale homes have a higher insulation value, have greater thermal mass (when compared to framed construction), have better indoor air quality and have far less toxic chemicals off gasing then the traditional homes we have been building for decades. If we were to build a house from a building material other than straw bale that would meet all of these high performing goals then the house would cost nearly twice as much to build as it’s Straw bale comparison.
The materials are much cheaper on a straw bale home but the labor is more expensive, because it’s a hand-built house. So the up front cost of employing tradesmen to build a Straw bale home compared to a standard home will likely be more. However if you are prepared to do a professional training course to learn the techniques and do the labour yourself you will save considerably, many straw bale homes have been hand-built by their owners for a very low cost indeed.
Another important thing to note is that over time the ongoing costs of living in a well designed straw bale home are significantly less than timber or steel framed homes.
We should also consider the true cost to the environment of the materials that we use for home construction, known as embodied energy. These costs include the environmental impacts from material extraction, transportation and eventually disposal. It’s worth thinking deeply about the materials which we choose to use and all the risks associated and be mindful of its effects on the environment. Straw bale construction is one of the most environmentally-friendly construction methods in the world because its made from natural materials.