[GSBN] energy efficiency.

Derek Stearns Roff derek at unm.edu
Fri May 12 21:11:43 CDT 2017

I agree with the previous comments, especially David’s “it depends”.  If the question includes energy saving in joules, or in dollars, eŭros, etc, rather than in percent, then the climate where the house is built has a big influence on the numbers.  An SB home in San Diego can’t save much money or many joules.  If it’s very cold, such as near the poles and at high elevation, or, alternatively, in a very hot place, then the savings can be more substantial.

In Rikki’s location, some group or agency has probably come up with a standard for “normal”.  It would make sense to compare SB to that standard.


Derek Roff
derek at unm.edu<mailto:derek at unm.edu>

On May 12, 2017, at 9:37 AM, David Arkin, AIA <david at arkintilt.com<mailto:david at arkintilt.com>> wrote:

Hello Rikki, All:

Of course, it’s going to vary from example to example.  For one of our projects, a 480 sq. ft. (44.5 sq. m) dwelling the energy documentation (what we call ‘Title 24’ here in California) was calculated at "44.6% Better than Standard.”  I’d be happy to forward you the form.  Perhaps better to suggest a range:  20% to 50% better than standard?

Designers and builders of straw bale homes are likely paying more attention to solar orientation and control than the average, and often with better windows and air-sealing. All things being equal except the walls, I’d guess perhaps a 15% to 25% increase in performance, due to a combination of higher insulation levels and thermal mass effect of the interior plaster finish.

Finally, you might add that homes built of straw and other rapidly renewable materials (hemp, bamboo, wood, etc.) have the potential to capture carbon out of the atmosphere, via photosynthesis, and our built environment can be the earth’s sixth carbon sink, giving humans the opportunity to help reverse global climate change with our building activities.

I look forward to hearing others’ thoughts,

David Arkin

On May 12, 2017, at 4:05 AM, Rikki Nitzkin <rikkinitzkin at gmail.com<mailto:rikkinitzkin at gmail.com>> wrote:

A reporter for a National newspaper here in Spain wants to write an article on SB.

She asks me: what is the % of energy savings in a SB house?

Can anyone give me a ball-park figure? o a link to somewhere with reliable data?

I usually compare the centimeters of insulation in a conventional house, to that of SB. But I don’t have the data on what the difference is in real savings…

thanks, Rikki

Rikki Nitzkin
Strawbale Building and Clay Plaster:
education, consulting, and building

tallerconco at gmail.com<mailto:tallerconco at gmail.com>
(+ 34) 657 335 162

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