The role of straw bale as a construction material for reducing the whole-life impacts of housing is examined. The embodied and operational CO2 emissions in a recently completed UK social housing project are compared using alternative domestic external wall constructions and the effects on the resulting CO2 emissions. It is estimated that over 15 tonnes of CO2 may be stored in biotic materials of each of the semi-detached houses, of which around 6 tonnes are sequestered by straw and the remaining by wood and wood products. This suggests the carbon lock-up potential of renewable construction materials is capable of reducing the case study house's whole-life CO2 emissions of the house over its 60-year design life by 61% when compared with the case without sequestration. The practical implications of construction, detailing, maintenance, cost and self-build potentials of straw-bale construction are also considered. The potential for load-bearing straw-bale walls is examined through the whole-life performance of straw-bale construction with alternative conventional external walling systems
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