Straw Bales

A field with round straw bales.

A straw bale is a bundle of straw tightly bound with twine or wire. Bales may be square, rectangular, or round, depending on the type of baler used.

Straw bale constructionEdit

Main article: Straw-bale construction

When bales are used to build or insulate buildings, the straw bales are commonly finished with plaster. The plastered walls provide excellent thermal mass, compressive and ductile structural strength, and excellent fire resistance as well as thermal resistance (insulation), far in excess of North American building code.[citation needed] Straw is an abundant agricultural waste product, and requires little energy to bale and transport for construction. For these reasons, strawbale construction is gaining popularity as part of passive solar and other renewable energy projects.

Sediment controlEdit

Straw bales are sometimes used for sediment control at construction sites.[1] However, bales are often ineffective in protecting water quality and are maintenance-intensive. For these reasons the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and various state agencies recommend use of alternative sediment control practices where possible, such as silt fences, fiber rolls and geotextiles.[2]

See alsoEdit


  1. California Stormwater Quality Association. Menlo Park, CA. “California Stormwater BMP Handbook: Straw Bale Barrier.” Best Management Practice (BMP) No. SE-9. January 2003.
  2. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Washington, DC. "National Menu of Stormwater Best Management Practices: Straw or Hay Bales." June 1, 2006.

External linksEdit

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