GSE MSc Architecture: AEES Essay May 2010: Straw-bale or hemp/lime construction: which is more appropriate for an environmentally responsive low-density housing development in Suffolk?
This essay relates to several lectures of Module C3, ‘Environmentally responsivematerials’, particularly the ‘Straw-bale Building’ and ‘Hemp/Lime’ lectures.The Housing and Regeneration Bill (now enacted) ‘
Supports the delivery of threemillion new homes by 2020
’ (UK Parliament, 2008). The construction of this number of houses could be environmentally devastating as production and transport of construction materials uses 10% of UK energy consumption (EA, 2003).However, the bill explicitly states that it ‘
provides for the establishment of new settlements like eco-towns and for simplifying the ways in which the Homes and Communities Agency would facilitate delivery of these projects
’ (UK Parliament,2008). New settlements must be constructed using environmentally responsivematerials.Suffolk County Council (SCC) is committed to ‘Creating the Greenest County’. ItsEnvironmental Action Plan (Appendix 1) for 2009-2010, includes the goal ‘
to be anexemplar in tackling climate change
’ and ‘
reduce its CO
emissions by 60% by 2025
’.Theme 1 of the plan ‘Climate Change’ includes the sub-theme ‘SustainableConstruction and Development’ (SCC, 2009). Using environmentally responsivebuilding materials will help achieve these ambitions.This essay will compare hemp/lime to straw-bale construction, particularly embodiedand sequestered CO
, and ascertain which is more suitable for new low-densitydwellings in Suffolk.