Tiny Houses

Flexible tiny house's straw walls are better insulators than brick

The S22 can run off-the-grid with solar power
The S22 can run off-the-grid with solar power
View 21 Images
The S22 model shown is located in the Crimea
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The S22 model shown is located in the Crimea
The S22 features a deck area
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The S22 features a deck area
The S22 shown is raised roughly 6 m (20 ft) above the ground on stilts
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The S22 shown is raised roughly 6 m (20 ft) above the ground on stilts
The S22 features a total floorspace of 22 sq m (236 sq ft)
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The S22 features a total floorspace of 22 sq m (236 sq ft)
Top-down view of the S22's dining area
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Top-down view of the S22's dining area
Looking down from the upstairs bedroom in the S22 
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Looking down from the upstairs bedroom in the S22 
The S22 has a small kitchen downstairs 
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The S22 has a small kitchen downstairs 
The S22's dining area 
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The S22's dining area 
The S22's kitchen includes sink and two-burner induction hob 
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The S22's kitchen includes sink and two-burner induction hob 
View of the S22's kitchen, with bathroom in the background 
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View of the S22's kitchen, with bathroom in the background 
The S22 features a small deck area
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The S22 features a small deck area
The S22 features glazing at the front 
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The S22 features glazing at the front 
The S22 model shown is located in the Crimea
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The S22 model shown is located in the Crimea
The S22 shown is raised roughly 6 m (20 ft) above the ground on stilts
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The S22 shown is raised roughly 6 m (20 ft) above the ground on stilts
The S22's deck can be raised to protect the glazing 
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The S22's deck can be raised to protect the glazing 
The S22's deck can be raised to protect the glazing 
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The S22's deck can be raised to protect the glazing 
The S22 can run off-the-grid with solar power
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The S22 can run off-the-grid with solar power
The S22 features a total floorspace of 22 sq m (236 sq ft)
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The S22 features a total floorspace of 22 sq m (236 sq ft)
The S22 shown is raised roughly 6 m (20 ft) above the ground on stilts
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The S22 shown is raised roughly 6 m (20 ft) above the ground on stilts
The S22 features solar panels on the roof 
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The S22 features solar panels on the roof 
S22 features prefabricated straw panels. These consist of straw bales pressed into a wooden frame
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S22 features prefabricated straw panels. These consist of straw bales pressed into a wooden frame

Russia's Strawmodul recently completed a prefabricated tiny house that's part-built from straw. The modular dwelling has enough space for two people as standard, but can be expanded too, and can also optionally run off-the-grid with solar power.

The S22 tiny house doesn't make use of hay bales, like some similar projects we've seen, but was built using prefabricated panels consisting of straw pressed into a wooden frame. According to Strawmodul, this offers excellent insulation.

"The straw panel's thickness is 200 - 400 mm [7.8 - 15.7 in]," says the firm. "It exceeds heat-insulating indicators of wooden walls more than twice, brick walls more than three times. The heat loss corresponds with the European standard of Passive Houses."

View of the S22's kitchen, with bathroom in the background 
View of the S22's kitchen, with bathroom in the background 

The model shown is Strawmodul's first tiny house and was installed in Crimea, though the firm is now working on three more. It's raised roughly 6 m (20 ft) above the ground on stilts due to the steep hillside plot and has a total floorspace of 22 sq m (236 sq ft), spread over two floors.

Access is gained by steps. Once inside, the ground floor includes a small kitchenette, a dining area, and a bathroom with washing machine, shower, toilet and sink. A ladder is used to reach the sole bedroom upstairs.

As with many prefabricated building companies however, Strawmodul offers lots of different options. Its homes can come in multiple sizes and configurations, and can also be expanded with relative ease by building additional walls, it says.

"We build the extra walls without knocking down the existing ones," explains architect Ilya Shevchenko. "We only demount a straw panel under the window, which is going to be a door opening. We save the demounted window with frame and install it into a new end wall."

Looking down from the upstairs bedroom in the S22 
Looking down from the upstairs bedroom in the S22 

The S22 optionally runs off-the-grid with a solar panel setup and a composting toilet, and is bought as a kit starting at US$17,000, which doesn't include the solar panels. Strawmodul told us that it aims to make kits available throughout Europe and the US, though warns that shipping fees and taxes may well increase the price.

Source: Strawmodul

6 comments
Quietrunner
Technically a straw filled wall should have an R value something like 10 to 15 times better than any masonry, including brick, stone, or just concrete blocks. I'm an Engineer, that's what I do.
Dan Marsh
The most notable aspect of the building is the trapped decking that could kill someone!
Username
This is a silly comparison, nobody uses brick as an insulator.
toyhouse
Fascinating. I'm just wondering if the straw being discussed here is treated somehow; to fight pests, microbes - that sort of thing? Or is that even needed? I was hoping they'd show a cross-section image of a wall to see how the straw is processed inside. As for user-name's comment; it's common to see bricks/blocks used to block-out heat in desert regions etc. Adobe as well. They weren't always the chosen building material due due to limited building materials in those areas. They were chosen for a reason. Not sure it's as popular as it once was though for various reasons - others may know more.
Strawmodul
@toyhouse Clay plastering 40 mm inside and 20 mm outside. There are no housewraps into a wall.
ljaques
I hope the straw and wood are heavily treated with borates prior to installation, to keep the bugs out and fire hazards down. Not too bad for a low-income pad. "Our 15.7 inch thick walls are twice as insulating as a tubafore wall." Who would have guessed? LOL I like the flip-up deck which protects the glass wall. Combined with a gate at the steps, it ensures that only potential burglars would either squish a nut (ow, ow, ow, ow, ow!) or fall to break a leg or neck.
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