Straw Works at Growing Futures Field Day

Myra James, Incredible Edible Mytholm management committee member, muses on Barbara Jones’ straw bale building talk.

This doesn’t claim to be a summary of the excellent, informative and inspiring talk given by Barbara Jones of Straw Works at Incredible Edible Mytholm’s Field Day, just some of my own musings based on what I can remember, assisted by a few scribbled notes.

Barbara Jones and some rather chilly audience members - the heating was off!

Straw bale buildings are built to very high standards, professionally finished. We saw a photograph of a pair of 3-bedroomed semis built for a council in (I think) Lincolnshire.

Straw Works- designed and built council houses - photo credit Straw Works

And they looked like nothing more or less than a quite attractive but fairly ordinary pair of semis.

In fact they are very special, made with construction grade straw bales. These are very densely packed making them both extremely strong and also fire resistant.

No cement is used in straw bale building. Instead, lime, gravel and coppiced wood are among the materials used.

The buildings are highly thermally efficient. In terms of cost they compare well with other buildings made to similar thermal insulation standards.

Barbara told us that most people report that the buildings “feel good”. One reason might be the absence of sharp corners. I would guess that the lack of harmful chemicals in the building materials might have something to do with it too.

By the end of the talk I felt as though I would love to live in a straw bale building. If I were a visitor to Hebden Bridge I would certainly like to stay in a straw-built hotel. A perfect way of making a stay in our town really special for visitors.

Ewan Tavendale's drawing of Growing Futures including ecohotel

Myra’s not the only one who likes the idea of a Growing Futures eco hotel – so does Em Weirdigan at Hebden Bridge Hostel