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University has grand designs to build a house of straw

sing ModCell panels for the Grand Designs Live exhibition.

All the wall panels used for the ground floor of the Grand Designs house are being reused for the BaleHaus at Bath.

Professor Pete Walker, Director of the BRE Centre in Innovative Construction Materials at the University of Bath, said: "Up to this point straw bales have not really been seen as a credible building material by much of the industry, even though straw has always been used in building for centuries, and straw bales have been used for about 100 years.

"Straw bales are an agricultural by-product and the material can be re-grown so is totally sustainable and renewable. The straw can be grown on a farm that is local to the construction site which saves on transport and minimises the carbon footprint of the building.

"Standard bales are 450 mm thick and provide very high levels of insulation so you need very little additional heating."

The BaleHaus at Bath, due to be completed in the late summer, will be monitored for a year for its insulating properties, humidity levels, air tightness and sound insulation qualities.

Dr Katharine Beadle, the principle researcher on the project, explained: "We're putting sensors into the walls to monitor temperature and humidity levels, and using technology to simulate the heat and moisture generated by people."

Craig White, Director of White Design and ModCell said: "The Zero Carbon Housing challenge the industry faces is not going to be met with conventional design and materials.

"BaleHaus at Bath is an entirely new and renewable way to construct homes fit for the challenge.

"Made from natural materials that are beautiful, affordable and sustainable, BaleHaus is a living, breathing home that is cool in summer and warm in winter, helps families reduce their CO2 footprint without compromising how they choose to live their lives and sets a new and very different benchmark for sustain

Contact: Vicky Just
University of Bath

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