Straw bale sound insulation: Blowing away the chaff

Written by esba

Popular opinion states that straw bale walls are good at isolating sound. Cheap load-bearing straw bale houses could contribute substantially to low carbon sustainable construction. However, literature on the subject was found to be highly anecdotal. Nine laboratory and field sound insulation test reports were found and two tests were commissioned for this paper. Data was compared to European party wall sound insulation criteria and it was found that straw walls could perform as well as, but sometimes worse than, conventional constructions, due to poor performance at low frequencies. Better performance could help to promote the use of straw bales in multi-unit housing and it was found that adding a plasterboard layer on studs to just one side of a plastered straw bale wall could help it pass all of the criteria reviewed.


  1. Dance, Stephen
  2. Herwin, Paul


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.