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00 each. bio-degradable. At the end of the building's life the straw can be returned to the earth as compost.• • • • • • • • • • Advantages. as with any system. (enough straw is burned each year in the USA to build five million houses) excellent fire resistance. very healthy air quality when plastered with natural materials. this represents a significant saving. Straw is a waste product much of which gets burned or ploughed back into the ground each year. Straw bale walls have a fire rating of between one and two hours (depending on the type of plaster used) which far exceeds the 20-minute rating for conventional 'stick frame' construction. straw bale houses are considered to be 'super-insulated' and require significantly less energy to heat or cool. When compared to the cost of conventional materials required to build to the same level of thermal insulation. impressive seismic strength. relatively cheap. With an average R-30 when stacked flat. In north America bales can be bought for about $3. solid. exceptional thermal insulation. providing a sense of solidity and nice wide window alcoves in which to sit . excellent acoustic insulation. Straw bale construction requires little technical knowledge or skill. However. a sound understanding of the construction methods is advisable. highly environmentally-friendly. relatively easy to work with. The bale walls are almost two feet thick. Recent tests have shown that straw bale walls can withstand twice the g-forces recorded in the most powerful earthquakes. and. Straw bale houses are very quiet inside due to the construction of the walls (plaster-straw-plaster) which absorbs high levels of noise.