Two-year anniversary for straw eco-homes in Martin, near Sleaford
TWO years after they were first built, straw bale houses in Martin have proven to be an energy-saving success.
Research has been undertaken by North Kesteven District Council officers to enable them to provide evidence of the benefits of straw bale construction.
Construction on two houses in West Grove, Martin began in 2010 and saw them built with straw from Little Hale Fen, lime from Woodhall Spa and other materials such as sheep's wool for insulation and roof-top solar water heating panels. Another two homes were also built in Waddington.
By measuring the overall energy efficiency of the buildings, heating loss and taking into consideration electricity costs and tenants feedback, officers have been able to prove the high insulation factors of building with the renewable materials.
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Councillor Stewart Ogden, executive member with responsibility for housing strategy said: "North Kesteven's straw houses are designed to last around 200 years and have so far proven to be low costing and energy-efficient for the tenants.
"We are dedicated to finding new initiatives in our council homes and working with contractors to always exceed requirements for energy efficiency."
Overall straw bale houses have insulation levels which are twice as effective as traditional construction, with the walls on their own providing three times the insulation value of the minimum requirements of the Building Regulations.
On average the properties are using 238 KWh/m2 per annum less energy than that of a traditional, solid fuel heated property.
Council leader Marion Brighton said: "The district council is proud to have been the first in the country to build houses of this kind; with huge energy saving benefits for the tenants they have proven to be a great success."