The factory of tomorrow as a regional production network using renewable raw materials. A pilot project in the field of insulating materials.

Short Description




Straw as building material has been in use for a long time, for example to build walls or as insulant. A process rendering straw applicable, in particular, for prefabricated wall and roof components has been developed in a research project. Project results show that straw is not merely a cost-efficient and ecologically sensible building material; it also meets essential requirements for insulants. Due to its excellent thermal insulation properties, straw can also be applied in passive houses. In order to avoid mildew growth and varmint affection, wall components are filled with bale straw in the carpentry and the prefabricated parts are assembled on site.

During the research project, four different building constructions were insulated with straw: two new buildings and two building restoration projects. A bale straw serial wall was developed and used for external walls and roof elements in a new passive house building construction in Perchtoldsdorf; the entire façade and flat roof of a newly constructed single family home in Thal near Graz were furnished with bale straw. The south-east wall of the extension to an existing single family home in Vienna-Oberlaa was realised as straw-insulated prefabricated wall. In the redevelopment of a house in Nestelbach near Graz, the entire roof structure and façade of the old building were insulated with bale straw.

Preliminary examinations effected during the research project indicate that registration of small size bale straw insulants on EC-level is feasible. Four businesses have already been indicated as potential licence owners who would like to realise the licensing process. The certification of bale straw insulants is presently being prepared. Certified straw bales will meet the following properties and quality criteria:

Bale size length: 60 bis 90 cm
width: 46 bis 50 cm
height: 36 bis 40 cm
Gross density (min/max) 80 kg/m3 bis 90 kg/m3
Straw moisture content < 15 %
Pest plant growth < 0,5 wt. %
Residual grain ratio < 0,4 wt. %
Thermal conductivity [lamda]D (23/50) = 0.046
Fire behaviour B2
Flow resistance 0.43 kPa s/m2
Water absorption 4.3 kg/m2
Settlement within the component maximal 2,3 %
Resistance against the
impact of biologic agents
class 3

Calculated simulations effected during the project indicate that, although straw is a comparatively favourable medium for mould growth, small bale straw insulants applied under proper workmanship in the investigated wall constructions are safe from fungal attack and, thus, protected from health-hazardous MVOC emissions.

In order to meet the required quality properties at competitive prices, further product development regarding achievable bale densities and the fabrication of small bales from large and round bales will be required. Further research is indicated, in particular, regarding hygrothermal conditions at various component junctions and cooperation potentials in marketing and supply of bale straw insulants.

Project Partners

Project manager: Mag. Heidi Adensam
Österreichisches Ökologie Institut
Project partners:

Ing. Josef Breinesberger
AGRAR PLUS Beteiligungsges. m. b. H.
Julius Raab Promenade 1, 3100 St. Pölten
Tel.: +43 (2742) 352234-10, Fax: DW 4

Bmstr. Ing. Heribert Hegedys
Haus der Baubiologie
St. Peter Hauptstr. 98, 8042 Graz
Tel.: +43 (316) 475363, Fax DW 14

DI Erwin Schwarzmüller
ConsultS, Nachhaltige Produktentwicklung, Passivhaus, Stadtökologie
Lerchenfelderstrasse 61/2/7, 1070 Wien
Tel./Mobil: +43 (1) 9568654, +43 (699) 19568654

Zimmermeister Gerhard Unfried
Gewerbestraße 633, 3571 Gars am Kamp
Tel. +43 (2985) 30250-0
Fax +43 (2985) 30250-4


Mag. Heidi Adensam
Österreichisches Ökologie Institut
Seidengasse 13, A 1070 Wien
Tel.: +43 (1) 523 61 05-24
Fax: +43 (1) 523 58 43