A Straw-Cell Wall System

by Chris Magwood

In 2012, Jacob Deva Racusin of New Frameworks Natural Building came to Ontario to present to the Ontario Natural Building Coalition (formerly the Ontario Straw Bale Building Coalition). Among the many inspiring ideas he presented was a version of a straw bale wall system they had dubbed “Straw-Cell” for its use of both straw bale and cellulose wall insulation.

Stud frame complete

Stud frame complete

This system uses a conventional frame wall on the exterior of the assembly, using stud spacing and header sizing directly from local building codes. The straw bales are then stacked entirely on the inside of the frame wall and plastered only on the interior side. The stud cavities are filled with dense-packed cellulose insulation, and the exterior of the wall is sheathed and cladded in a conventional manner.

The Straw-Cell wall system may seem to go against a fair bit of “conventional” straw bale building ideology, but it has a lot to offer.

It’s key advantages are:

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