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Britain's first council house made out of... straw

Posted on 2:21 PM by Sameer Shah

Britain's first council houses made out of straw are to be built in a bid to cut costs and energy consumption.

The six semi-detached homes will be built from 500 bales but will be indistinguishable from normal homes because of their lime-washed walls.

At £60,000, the three-bed properties will cost £20,000 less to build than a conventional house.



They are being built as an 'experiment' by North Kesteven County Council, Lincs., to cut construction costs and meet energy consumption targets.

Marion Brighton, leader of the council, said straw with its exceptional heating properties had massive potential.

She said: 'It's all about affordability, sustainability and cutting down energy consumption. It's the first time it has ever been tried in the UK.

'The straw houses tick all the boxes - cost and energy efficiency. Also, we have a lot of straw in the area. It makes sense to make use of it.

'The properties will look similar to conventional council properties except the outer walls will be whitewashed with lime rather than red brick.

'We hope to continue building with straw and to encourage other councils to follow suit.'

Two semi-detached units each containing two three bed properties are due to be built in the village of Martin, Lincs., in April.

Construction of a further one semi-detached unit is set to start later in the year in Waddington, Lincs.

A spokeswoman for architects Amazon Nails, Todmorden, York., said household bills for the straw homes, said to have a lifespan of 100 years, will be low.

The houses will be on the National Grid but gas would only be supplied for cooking.

The straw walls will be airtight and superinsulated and natural light will be used to maximise warmth.

Each property will have a wood burning stove for the very coldest winter spells.

The houses have been designed by architects Amazon Nails and are set to be built by construction company A Hacker & Son, of Sleaford, Lincs..

David Hacker said: 'It's an incredible exciting venture. It will be the first time we will have built using straw and will involve intensive training. We hope it will be the future.'

Amazon Nails was founded by director Barbara Jones in Wales in 1996. It has since been involved in the construction of more than 250 straw bale properties from homes to agricultural buildings.

Materials for a house built with straw bales cost about the same as for a conventional timber-frame house but less than brick and block.

There are more than 2 million tons of straw a year surplus to requirements in the UK. This is sufficient to build 250,000 homes a year.

Building with straw began in North America in the mid-1800s. Pioneers arriving on the Nebraska plains used straw bales from the newly invented baling machine.

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