A house made of hemp panels and straw is as fire resistant as houses built of conventional building materials, even at 1000 degrees centigrade, research has revealed.
Bath’s BaleHaus@Bath building, made from prefabricated hemp and straw-bale, had a panel used in its construction heat tested by a team from the University of Bristol.
The panel had to withstand the heat for more than half an hour, but lasted two hours without failing.
The house is made from prefabricated cells of timber filled with straw or hemp, rendered with a lime-based coat.
BaleHaus@Bath is part of a research project into how renewable building materials can be used for homes of the future. The research work has been funded by Carbon Connections and the Technology Strategy Board.
Construction materials researchers from the university will also be monitoring the house for a year for its insulating properties, humidity levels, air tightness and sound insulation.
The ModCell BaleHaus system is the brainchild of White Design in Bristol and Integral Structural Design in Bath. It was used last year by TV presenter Kevin McCloud to build an eco-friendly house in six days for the Grand Designs Live exhibition.