Today it can be recognizable that environment is utterly exhausted by the human civilization. In order to moderate hunger for energy new applications of techniques are required that can be in harmony with nature.
Among the environmental education it is also important to help students familiarize themselves with the principles of sustainability. Therefore we invited László Zalatnay, the chairman of the Energy and Environment Foundation, to talk us about a building material that meets the ecological environmental directives, and also able to meet the requirements of thermal insulation and energy saving as well.
The lecture participants were the high building professionals, increasingly technicians and bricklayer students, and the teachers of the building industry department but there were also other non-professional teachers.
Among the classic eco-friendly construction materials new ones increasingly appear. Such a novelty like this is the “straw bale house” in our country.
Many things can be used to build a house but only few people think of using straw during the construction although it is a very obvious material. Thanks to agriculture it is available in the country everywhere and we can obtain at a very attractive price. Not to mention one of the most useful property of it: the very good thermal insulation capacity.
Straw bale construction is not a new invention. Straw-houses have been being built for 150 years by European settlers, first temporarily basis in the United States among the Nebraska Sand mountains. These temporary buildings were passed the requirements well, so later they were finalized with pise luting. The straw architecture was embraced in the late 1980s again and made it world-famous. Thanks to the speeding of information flow it spread all over the world through the last twenty years.
The straw bale can be used for new constructions in several ways: we can build with bales pressed into ladder frames, where the frame ensures the porterage, also load-bearing structure can be constructed out of it and walls and slabs can be built with pre-produced panels as well. Using the bales outside for subsequent thermal insulation is also widespread – e.g. in the neighboring Austria.
The students listened with great interest to the presentation, which was enlivened by projected images. During the break, they studied the model which demonstrated the principle of building technology and they could ask questions to the lecturer:
- How many straw bale houses have been built in Hungary? – How the straw bale houses meet the fire protection requirements? – Why straw bale construction is eco-friendly? – What is the purpose of the foundation in the field of straw bale construction?
- In Hungary there are more than thirty houses had been built of straw with the required licenses. Unfortunately there is no precise information about the number of those which were built without permission but they were constructed far greater numbers as the licensees. And also there are much more who are currently planning to build straw bale houses.
- Straw itself is a very flammable material. When it is baled it is less flammable. We can just think about how easy it is to ignite a piece of paper, and how hard it is to inflame a phone book. The straw acts in a similar way. Building into wall structure it has to be protected from harmful external factors (weather, fire, rodents, water, etc). The most suitable for it is the pise luting or close the bale wall with a protecting wall that is built in front of it.
- Straw is a by-product of agriculture, the plant produces oxygen during its life, grow wheat, and after building in it is healthy and completely free from harmful chemical materials, non-radiant and 100% recyclable.
- The Foundation intends to build 1000 straw houses in Hungary, so they organize preparatory theoretical and practical courses across the country for which they welcome the professionals and also those who would like to build bale houses.
The students found the presentation very helpful and interesting, later we also received more positive feedback on our lessons.