House of straw under construction

Ron and Deanna Block's new house, that is being built on
Smokey Hill Road southwest of Hastings, has a different look
to it at the 22-inch thick walls are made of compressed
straw bales. The house will look like any other home when it
is finished.

You cannot huff and puff and blow this house down.

Ron and Deanna Block's new house on Smokey Hill Road southwest of Hastings might look a little different now but soon you won't be able to tell that it's being insulated by compacted straw bales that are 22 inches thick.

While some — especially those with allergies — might think walls of straw might sound like a bad idea, it is a tested, energy-efficient construction method, according to the home's owner.

"This technology is well over 100 years old," Ron Block said. "You see more of it west of here, but there are two of them in Lincoln that I know of. The Rowe Sanctuary over in Gibbon is a straw-built building. Lexington and west, there are a lot more of them. There are tons of them in Colorado.

"They claim the R values in these homes are R50 or better. We will blow R57 in the ceiling."

To read more, see Thursday's Hastings Tribune or the Tribune e-edition.>>

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