This is the
VOA Special English Development Report.
Today we bring you a new take on an old
tale. It's the story of the three little
pigs and the big bad wolf that blew down a house made of straw and one made of sticks. The only house left standing was the one made
of bricks. Now there is new evidence to suggest that houses built with bales of
straw can be very strong. They are also
Pete Walker is a professor at the
University of Bath in Britain. He and a
team of researchers there have built a house made out of straw bale and hemp
During the next twelve months the team will study
the effectiveness of these materials in home building. Professor Walker says there are many good
reasons for using straw.
PETE WALKER: "One
of the benefits is it's a relatively inexpensive renewable material that's
Professor Walker says
straw takes in carbon dioxide as it grows. So it can be seen as having no
harmful effects on the environment. He says straw helps the environment in
WALKER: "The straw bales walls are
relatively thick and so all that straw provides very good thermal
insulation. So we make buildings that
require very little heating in the winter or indeed very little cooling in the
summer. So they require very little additional energy."
says this reduces home operating expenses. It also reduces the effect on the environment. He says the current interest in straw bale
houses is a direct response to the problem of climate change.
David Lanfear owns an
eco-friendly home building service in the United States called Bale on Bale
He says he laughed
when some friends first told him about houses built of straw. But after doing his own research, he learned
that building with straw bales makes a lot of sense. He has now helped to build
more than ten straw bale houses and says the building material is becoming more
build the houses, he fills a wood frame with tightly packed bales of
straw. Next he coats the walls inside
and out with layers of clay plaster. He
says the common ideas about straw houses continue, including stories about the
threat of fire. Mister Lanfear says
straw bale houses have done well when tested for fire resistance. And he
says his builders use the same building methods as traditional builders to keep
DAVID LANFEAR: "We
use what we call good shoes and a good hat, and that would be a solid
foundation and a really good roof."
the VOA Special English Development Report, written by June Simms. I'm Steve Ember.