Straw Bale Passivhaus

A house built to serve the retirement needs of its owners following lifetime design, achieving the Passivhaus standard and constructed using straw bales.

The site’s existing planning permission was redesigned to meet the brief including a compact, curved roof form more sensitive to the rural setting and neighbouring listed building which also reduced the heat loss area. Use of a passive slab insulated foundation system is an innovation for load-bearing straw bale building.  The project demonstrates that with some modification of standard details, lime plaster applied to straw bales can provide the level of airtightness required by the Passivhaus standard. Electricity generated from the 4kWp photovoltaic panel array is diverted to an immersion heater in the hot water cylinder so that the majority of domestic hot water is produced by solar power.

Achieving Passivhaus certification in 2016 represents a significant achievement for a first-time self-builder collaborating with straw bale advocates and skilled tradespeople.