Straw bale Buildings: A Good Compromise between Environmental Sustainability and Energy-Economic Savings

Written by esba

Some straw bale buildings, which combine eco-sustainability with versatility, low cost and fast construction times, have recently been built in Northern Italy. In this work, the technologies used to build straw bale houses are presented, and the characteristics of the raw materials, the straw bales, and the construction techniques are dealt with. Two straw bale buildings, which have different characteristics and types of application, are analyzed. The first building is a residential, nearly zero-energy building, which was built in Saluggia (Vercelli) in 2012. This house is presently inhabited by a family and is heated with a wood stove. The second building was built in 2014 in Verres (Aosta) and is a pre-assembled demonstration prototype used for teaching purposes. The thermal performance of the straw bale envelopes was evaluated during the heating season by measuring the thermal conductance of the straw bale walls through two experimental campaigns.

Straw bale walls offer good insulating performance, as well as high thermal inertia and can be used in green buildings since straw is derived from agricultural waste, does not require an industrial process and is degradable. Finally, these characteristics of straw can be combined with its low cost. Local economic development in this field may be possible.


  1. Mutani, Guglielmina
  2. Azzolino, Cristina
  3. Macrì, Maurizio
  4. Mancuso, Stefania


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.