The construction industry plays a major part in the climate crisis, accounting for nearly 40% of energy-related carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, whilst also having a significant impact on our natural habitats
At Straw Works, we are proud to be a signatory of the Architects Declare movement, which unites architects to make change in the industry in order to mitigate the effects of climate breakdown and biodiversity loss.
We are committed to making those changes and have been responding to these demands in our work for years.
Straw and the other natural materials we design with are the most appropriate materials to build with in terms of embodied carbon. Every straw bale sequesters (‘locks in’) carbon dioxide which is absorbed by the crops as they grow. Straw bale walls then store this carbon in their fabric for the lifetime of the building. For houses that last upwards of 100 years, this makes a significant contribution in helping to revert the emission of greenhouse gases.
The insulating quality of straw bales also massively reduces the operational energy of the buildings we design, not to mention the cost of heating them! A typical plastered straw wall has a U-value of 0.11 – more than twice as insulating as Building Regulations require.
The LETI Design Guides are great resources with practical toolkits on how we can design buildings that deliver embodied carbon reductions and respond to the climate emergency:
‘Straw cuts energy bills by 90% – While the UK is consumed by arguments about the cost of energy, fuel poverty and market failure, some have managed to sidestep these issues altogether’. University of Bath article on the LILAC co-housing project in Leeds
The Anthropocene Architecture school has a digital library with wide ranging reading suggestions on the climate emergency. Find them on Instagram @anthropocene.a.s.library