Straw bales and mussels as insulation materials

Written by esba

There is a growing interest in building houses with straw and blue mussels shells as insulation material. Several self-builders have built houses in which these materials have been used in the external walls and roof or the eaves. There are also begun by craftsmen for a private builder.

The products are available in abundant quantities and have a very low environmental impact. It is therefore obvious to document the technical construction straw bales could be used on a larger scale.

Concerning straw bales, the aim of the project is to document plastered straw properties of the wick:

  • Thermal insulation
  • Moisture transport
  • Fire transport
  • Sound insulation
  • Working environment

Blue mussel shells, the objective is to document the properties in terms of:

  • Thermal insulation
  • Capillary rise
  • Life cycle

This note gives a brief description of the purpose, what we have done in each experiments and what results we have obtained so far.

Author: Birte Møller Andersen and Jørgen Munch-Andersen, 21.06.2001


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.