Straw house built to withstand bushfires

Straw house built to withstand bushfires

04 October 2012

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Australia – BUILDERS have started work on a house of straw designed to withstand the huff and puff of Victoria’s bushfire season.

CSIRO testing found the straw and steel home would be able to withstand extreme bushfire conditions, resisting temperatures of over 1000C.

The house is being built on a cliff top in rural Victoria for Daylesford and Hepburn Mineral Springs company founder Mitch Watson.

Its roof will be covered with grass that uses living soils to capture pollution.

The concept was conceived by sustainable designer Joost Bakker.

It is based on design principles that minimise environmental impact.

Mr Bakker said he and Mr Watson had worked together to source materials from local suppliers.

The baled straw that will be used in the foundation and insulation came from a local farmer’s paddock.

“On one of my first visits to the Daylesford site I passed a paddock of soon to be harvested oats,” Mr Bakker said in a CSIRO statement on Thursday.

“Mitch asked the local farmer about the potential of baling the straw after the harvest of the crop and the farmer eagerly obliged.

“Consequently the local farmer’s straw will soon be the foundations and insulation of the new home.”

CSIRO fire safety engineer Alex Webb said the house material reacted very well when tested by CSIRO in a bushfire simulator earlier this year.

“After a period of radiant heat exposure, the fire was intensified to the face of the building at over 1000C for almost two minutes, simulating a major fire front,” Mr Webb said.

“The test results proved the house to be a viable option for use in bushfire prone areas.”




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