From Fields to Homes
For more than a century, homes in the United States have been built using a technique called straw-bale construction.
If treated properly, straw-bale homes can last up to 100 years. This environmentally friendly construction is inexpensive and energy efficient. Once encased, straw bales are also resistant to fire, vermin and decay.
Environmental awareness and energy efficiency begin at the foundation by replacing concrete with a natural rubble trench. The baled straw is a farming waste product, unusable for animal feed and typically burned at the end of a season. Using the straw as a building material immediately lessens air pollution. Additionally, the compacted straw works as a natural insulator in building materials, decreasing the amount of foam insulation, and the natural lime plaster covering the straw reduces the need for drywall. Lastly, the accompanying solar panels provide enough energy to power the entire home.
Exploring straw-bale construction
The exhibit at DMNH shows an example of a straw-bale along with a Lego model version of what one of the homes could potentially look like. And, young visitors are encouraged to construct their own versions using Legos!
Y Innovations is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization working with several community partners to introduce the benefits of straw-bale construction to the Wilmington, Delaware area. With the help of Brandywine Construction Company, Sunny Mac Solar and Clean Energy USA, M Davis and Sons,
Natural Cottage Project, Community Rebuilds, Peter Paton, P2Strength Engineering, and especially Family Promise, Y Innovations hopes to provide safe and affordable housing to local families across our region.