Straw bales offer excellent R-values: 35-45 depending on size, compaction, and who you are asking. They are also easy to attach to an earthbag wall. The following are some illustrated examples of configurations of straw bales married to earthbags (Fig. 17.9).
Considering two- to three-foot (0.6-0.9 m) thick walls are common for traditional earthen structures throughout the world, adding straw bales to the outside of an earthbag wall would seem sensible. We can take advantage of the benefits of the earth's mass (U-value) and the straw bale's insulation (R-value) to build a home that will be effortless to heat and cool, using two low-tech systems together (Fig. 17.10).
17.9: Alternate configurations of earthbags and straw bales used to achieve mass and insulation.
earthbags or tubes with extra long tie wires twisted around barbed wire earthbags or tubes with extra long tie wires twisted around barbed wire
loped to daylight to accomodate curved wall)
loped to daylight
17.10: Earthbag wall with straw bale wrap.
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