No huffing and puffing at this straw home
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#1 Feb 27, 2009
"Huffing and puffing" ought naturally to refer to extreme winds, which includes straight-line winds as well as tornadoes. FEMA 320 has maps and a worksheet advising what your house should have where. Insulation value aside, a key question we need the answer to is: what level (EF#) tornado will these straw-bale homes stand up to? And not just the pure wind, but also the tornado-driven projectiles. This is NOT a rhetorical question.
#2 Mar 14, 2009
Straw bale structures have withstood both hurricanes and tornadoes in the US. Testing has been done on both out of plane loads (see http://ecobuildnetwork.org/strawbale.htm ) and has verified that plastered straw bale walls can easily withstand the horizontal wind pressures from these weather events.
Projectile testing in response to FEMA recommendations has also been done. The results of these various tests are also very good and are summarized in "The Design of Straw Bale Buildings" by Bruce King et al from Green Building Press.
More information can be found at www.greenweaverinc.com .
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