Owner Builder Article – Building an energy efficient straw bale home

Owner Builder magazine has recently published this article titled “Building an energy efficient straw bale home”

Click here to read it.

Cover of Owner Builder magazine article building an energy efficient straw bale home

Click the image above to read the article as a .pdf

What did you think of the article? Got questions or comments, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.



Steve & Shelley’s working bee.


How do you protect a straw bale home from water damage?


  1. Matt

    Hi Brian,
    We are looking a building a bale house, we have a concept on what we’re after but no one I have spoken to wants to draw it so I was wondering if you had any architects that you could recommend.
    Help us nut out a final design,
    Cheers Matt

    • brian@anvill.com.au

      Hi Matt,
      Sorry for the delay in getting back to you. If you have enrolled in our online training course you are considered one of our clients and consequently have access to a number of services we provide including design and drafting. If you would like to discuss this further you are more than welcome to give me a call on 0428 246 868.



  2. Sarah Fanning

    Dear Mr Hodges,
    I have read your book with interest, and am intending (eventually) to sign up for your online course, as I am very keen to build my own home. In the meantime, I am grappling with various design issues, including the question of flooring. Most ‘energy efficient’ sites recommend a concrete slab for thermal mass; in your experience, how does this compare with wooden floors?
    Most ‘passive solar’ advocates seem to think that including thermal mass and achieving correct orientation (to the north), particularly in single-room-width buildings, will give immediate heating benefits. Admittedly we live in a very cold place north of Goulburn, NSW, but our current house – well-insulated wooden clad, single room depth, north facing with wide wooden deck covered by vine-covered pergola, though with many windows to north and south – has a wooden floor, and heating remains a very significant energy requirement.
    Thank you

    • brian@anvill.com.au

      One of the myths that I wanted to address when building the straw bale house in Inglewood Victoria is the issue of energy efficiency and concrete slabs. We did energy assessments for this house with a timber floor and another for a concrete slab on ground. The timber floor with enclosed sub-floor to restrict air flow plus insulation between the floor joists resulted in a better energy rating that the concrete slab on ground. I personally prefer timber floor to live on the concrete, however it must be noted that this is not always possible as some soil types will not accommodate timber floor systems.

      I trust this helsp and look forward to hearing from you again soon.


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