Natural materials, such as straw bale and earth, have substantially less embodied energy than processed materials so that their use in building construction can give a valuable contribution to sustainability.
This paper presents a natural multi-sheet wall package called straw wall, (SW) consisting of straw bale layers and innovative natural plasters, giving a rational evaluation of its potential of use in sustainable building construction. The new building component was investigated by analyzing its environmental impact through the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) from “Cradle to Gate” and its energy performance using dynamic simulation of a building case study; the energy-saving potential of SW was assessed in different climate conditions in Italy. The innovative package highlighted excellent energy performance with respect to the NZEB reference, as prescribed by the Italian regulation, for all climates.
Considering only the production and construction phases, the Embodied Energy associated with the innovative wall system is about half of the value related to a traditional wall package and the CO2 equivalent emissions differ by more than 40% (Pescara site).