Mechanics of straw bales for building applications

Written by esba

Straw bales are seen as increasingly viable for building insulation and even for the construction of small loadbearing straw houses in the last decades, especially in view of the need to seek low environmental footprints. Straw bales can be used as load-bearing structures but they are currently mainly used as a filler insulation material associated with a timber structure. Up to the present, very few studies are available concerning the mechanical behaviour of straw bales in buildings. This study aims at investigating the behaviour of straw bales and leads to recommendations for required bales densities. This allows deriving compression models which describe their behaviour in a wall. Therefore, the results show that in the density range of 90 –110kg/m³, the elastic and strength characteristics are similar whatever the position of the bales (laid flat or on their edge).


  1. Lecompte, T.
  2. Le Duigou, A.


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.