Developing a prefabricated timber and straw-bale wall panel for Aotearoa New Zealand

  • YEAR
    Hall, Min
    2022 Conference Papers
    Conference Papers


Making greater use of materials that sequester carbon, like timber and straw, is one way of reducing carbon emissions in the construction industry. In Aotearoa New Zealand building with straw bales has been perceived as a fringe technique, undertaken mostly in rural locations and often by owner-builders. For the past twenty years, however, and in the face of escalating climate change, practitioners have looked to prefabrication to advance the process of building with straw. Prefabricated timber and straw-bale wall panels have been developed in Europe, the United Kingdom, North America and Australia. They have been used to construct stand-alone houses, medium density housing, schools and medium scale commercial projects. This paper reports on Project Pātūtū, a research project aiming to develop a straw-bale panel system suitable for use in Aotearoa. International examples have been investigated before designing six panel options. Scale model panels were built and analysed in terms of their suitability for both community participation in the construction process and mainstream commercial construction. A small house was designed using the panels and analysed in terms of compliance with building regulations and the practicalities of construction

Keywords: Prefabrication; straw-bale; low carbon.


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