Construction and monitoring of experimental straw bale building in northeast China

Written by esba

Straw bale buildings have the potential to reduce the environmental impact of construction. Although the technique has been introduced into northern China more than a decade ago, the construction method and potential problems within straw bale walls have not been fully understood in existing research. Following an analysis of existing straw bale construction both in north China and worldwide, this paper proposes modifications to the straw bale construction details currently used in north China. The modifications involve in-fill raw material, toe-up design and lime render application. These modifications were incorporated into an experimental building constructed in north China, and after having been monitored for 12 months, the modified construction details were critically assessed. The data demonstrate that rice straw bale walls are resistant to agents of decay and offer reduced construction time and cost than standard wall construction in north China.

The construction method has the potential to become a mature construction system in the Chinese market in the future offering significant benefits both in construction and operational cost and in environmental impact.


  1. Summers, Matthew D
  2. Blunk, Sherry L
  3. Jenkins, Bryan M


About the author


The European Straw Building Association is an independent European association, devoid of any profit making motive. The object of the Association is to promote and develop the use of straw, as a sustainable way of building in all the senses of the term “sustainable”: renewable, ecological, healthy, energy and climate efficient, social and economic.
The Association is a federation composed of organisations and people particularly concerned with the use of straw in buildings.