Onehouse: Green light to ‘Passivhaus’ home which will be insulated with straw bales

An artist’s impression of what the straw-baled insulated home in Onehouse will look like

An artists impression of what the straw-baled insulated home in Onehouse will look like - Credit: Good Architecture

AN ULTRA energy-efficient home that will be insulated with straw bales is to be built in a Suffolk village.

A home built to the ‘Passivhaus’ standard, which is believed to be the first in the county, has had planning permission granted in Onehouse, near Stowmarket.

Prospective owner Dave Howorth, 59, said he is hoping to see his energy bills tumble when the house is completed next year.

He said: “There are none of them in the county. I do not know of any others in the country. The main thing that they do is reduce the energy usage of the house which is something we need to do for environmental reasons. I am hoping the bills annually will be less than we spend in a month.

“I would support making all homes this standard. It seems like a sensible way to build really.”

He said there were three main reasons to build to the Passivhaus standard – to reduce global warming, cutting energy usage and to help reduce the burden on fossil fuels.

According to a planning document there are no straw bale Passivhaus homes built in the UK.

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The four-bed property in Forest Road will be kept warm with straw bales of about 450mm thickness. The building site will be used to train people in the skills of constructing homes in the environmentally-friendly manner.

The design of the building will be similar to a ‘Dutch Barn’ which usually have curved roofs and are common in the region.

The home will be built next to a Grade-II listed cottage.Onehouse Parish Council had written to Mid Suffolk District Council arguing the home’s design is ‘totally out of keeping with the character and the appearance of the area’.

But Mid Suffolk’s conservation officer said the home would not have any significant harmful impact on either the historic environment or the character and appearance of the surrounding area.

For homes to achieve the Passivhaus standard they need to have high levels of insulation, high performance windows with insulated frames, an airtight building fabric and a mechanical ventilation system which stops heat from escaping.

The Passivhaus standard was developed in Germany in the early 1990s and reduces a home’s heating demand by 75%.