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Construction Barefoot Building Design integrate many different construction techniques into their building designs.

Straw bale versus Rammed Earth Home

On 26, Jul 2013 | One Comment | In Construction | By Rob Acton

Straw bale building construction

There are advantages and disadvantages to building with straw bale from a building design perspective. It is good practise to weigh up all the pros and cons before deciding on a building method even it it seems like an eco friendly idea.

The benefits of a rammed earth home versus a straw bale home

The first thing you notice when you walk into a Straw Bale home is the thickness of the walls. This would be fine if you don’t mind simply building an even bigger home. But with walls at 550mm thick over the whole building up to 100m2 of floor space can be lost to walls alone.

Labour costs of straw bale building

Then there is the issue of labour costs. Straw Bale is extremely labour intensive. Sure, the initial installation of the Bales can be done by everyone including the kids, neighbours, fellow Straw Bale devotees and even the dog can get in on the act. But most of the work is in the actual structure.
Most Straw Bale homes are of Post and Beam construction. This means that the majority of the work should be done by a qualified Carpenter or Licensed Builder. I have known some Straw Bale buildings to take as much as twice as long to build as a Rammed Earth home and certainly a conventionally built home is much quicker by a long way.


Rob loves the great outdoors and designs buildings to bring the great outdoors indoors. He designs energy efficient solar passive homes that make the most of natural sunlight and climate control. Rob was a licensed builder and qualified carpenter so designs buildings that are cost effective and practical to build. He lives and works primarily in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales Australia but has worked in Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu and New Zealand.


  1. Larry Herbertson

    Hi rob, looking at building a rammed earth home on our block at Tyalgum May be interested to speak to you with regards to design etc.”. Cheers Larry

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