Design Your Own Building – Recycling An Old Dutch Barn!

Here is another unique way to design your own building by recycling an old Dutch barn and building a straw bale house!

Forget bricks and mortar, Rob and Katie Field plan to build their new home out of straw bales.

The couple have been given permission to construct the three-bedroom house in Wymondham, near Melton, using straw harvested from a 100-acre wheat farm.

Straw Bale House in the making...

The eco-friendly home will have a wall-less Dutch barn as its core, straw bales for the 18in-thick walls, floor to ceiling windows, solar panels and a bio-mass boiler.

It will be carbon neutral, meaning the house will generate as much energy as it consumes, and is one of the first homes of its type in the region.

Dr Field, 46, a conservation scientist with the RSPB, said: “We’ve been working on the plan for about four years and we’re going to be doing a lot of the building work ourselves at holidays and weekends, so I’m not sure when it’s going to be ready – or how much it will cost – but the sooner the better.”

The couple are currently living in Stonesby, but their new home will be built on Strawberry Farm, in Melton Road, in the village, which is owned by Mrs Field’s father, Christopher Glenn.

The Dutch barn at a neighbouring farm will be dismantled and used as the free-standing base for the house.

Dr Field added: “We intend to use second-hand and reclaimed materials where possible and by-products such as straw for the walls.

“The straw will be both structural and insulating and the walls will be covered in lime mortar which sticks to the rough surface of the bales.

“We will use heat from the sun coming through the floor to ceiling windows to warm the house, using reclaimed heat-absorbing stone or brick.”

The house will have solar panels to produce electricity, with excess production going back into the National Grid, and also an eco-friendly bio-mass boiler, which will burn wood harvested from the farm instead of a boiler that relies on fossil fuels.

Melton Borough Council’s development committee gave permission for the building work to go ahead last week.

Richard Cooper, director of the HSSP Architects of Melton, which designed the scheme, said: “We are delighted Melton Borough Council had the foresight to approve this – it will show energy efficient development can be achieved on a particularly tight budget – and this in particular has gained a great deal of interest.”

The council’s development committee backed the scheme under planning guidelines which allow “for the very occasional granting of truly outstanding and ground-breaking design” despite it being outside normal planning rules.

Eco Straw House’s Summary: Hats off to Rob and Katie as they design their own building and recycle an old Dutch Barn and turn into their straw bale home.  A great way to reduce, reuse and recycle for sure, with straw bales being a completely renewable, waste resource that is regrown every year!  Cudo’s for them too, for taking on the project themselves – they are certainly in for some hard ‘graft’ but the end result will be worth it.  There is nothing more satisfying then knowing you have done the lions share of the work yourself and left a legacy for future generations!  What are you doing to leave a legacy for generations to come?  What are you doing to ‘design your own building’? Leave me your ideas in the comment box below…

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