Rediscovering straw houses to combat indoor pollution

ZEB “Zero Energy Buildings” and NZEB “Near Zero Energy Buildings”

ZEB and NZEB buildings

The building industry is increasingly being asked to pay more attention to the environmental sustainability of its products. In recent years, there has been a growing demand for "zero energy" (ZEB) or "nearly zero energy" (NZEB) buildings where the balance between energy produced and consumed is zero.

In spite of such a simple definition, the realisation of a nearly zero-energy building implies a careful and well-integrated design. On the one hand, it is necessary to minimise dispersion or unwanted heat gain through the construction of a highly insulating envelope and the study of shading.

On the other hand, it is important that the building produces its own energy for air conditioning, lighting, hot water and other consumption through the use of renewable sources and passive heating and cooling systems.

Natural building materials reduce the emission of CO2

Natural building materials reduce the emission of CO2

In parallel with the search for materials capable of increasing the environmental sustainability of buildings, the search for natural materials capable of reducing indoor pollution is increasingly predominant. This has become one of the main enemies of homes.

Wood, cork, straw and hemp are just some of the main natural materials that can be used to build in an ecological way. Of these, hemp is an excellent hygroscopic and insulating material, both thermal and acoustic, while straw is a vegetable material that can be considered a by-product of agriculture and, used in construction, is able to improve thermal and sound comfort by conferring high breathability.

In the field of sustainable construction, straw houses are a particular example of a natural building. Specifically, a building with a wooden supporting structure and cladding made of straw bales is able to achieve very high energy parameters (keeping warm in winter and cool in summer), with very low energy consumption.

Central vacuum system is ideal for green houses

Central vacuum system is ideal for green houses

The central vacuum system that is developed with an underfloor pipe network in buildings constructed from natural materials such as wood and straw is very easy to install. This is because the structure of the building itself allows the pipe network to be constructed more easily and quickly than in classic concrete and brick buildings.

Incorporating this system into an environment where the materials it is made of already contribute to the fight against indoor pollution and increase environmental sustainability means putting the icing on the cake for living in a truly healthy and clean environment. By eliminating and expelling dust, micro-dust, viruses, bacteria and allergenic agents to the outside.

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