Britain’s first straw-bale council houses are getting closer to completion, with the buildings expected to be ready for occupancy next March.
Located in Waddington, Lincolnshire, the houses now have fully built straw-bale walls and roofs. The next stage, lime rendering, will cover the straw walls so the buildings will more closely resemble traditional houses. Work will then begin on the interiors.
Straw houses were first built in the US following the invention of the bailing machine in the late 1800s. The first straw-bale structure in the UK went up in 1994, and over 100 more have been built across the country since then. Straw-bale homes offer the dual advantage of being both less expensive to build than traditional brick buildings and being more sustainable as well.
The great insulating properties of straw means homes don’t need heating systems, although the ones in Lincolnshire will feature wood-burning stoves for use during extremely cold weather.
Straw-bale homes are also extremely durable, with an estimated lifespan of 200 years.
“These are the first council houses of their kind in the country, and North Kesteven District Council is proud to be the driving force behind the scheme,” said Marion Brighton, leader of North Kesteven District Council. “We hope that other local authorities will be inspired to build affordable, sustainable houses like these.”
Once the homes are completed, they will be allocated through the normal North Kesteven District Council register and housing allocation scheme. Anyone can apply, but all will go through the same process.