In the Press

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The UK's first straw bale homes
go on sale in Bristol

12 April 2015 

House hunters huffed and puffed, not to blow straw houses down, but to try and get their hands on them.

The UK's first straw bale homes being sold commercially went on display for the first time on Saturday.

And the sustainable and fuel-efficient homes have proved so popular that sealed bids are being taken to buy them.

The seven homes in St Bernard's Road, Shirehampton, reduce heating bills by around 90 per cent and are being marketed at £220,000 for two bed houses and £235,000 for four beds.

Their unique design has been given both scientific and industry approval meaning for the first time buyers can get mortgages for them and they are insurable. Developer Martin Connolly said: "We received more than 300 enquiries and because demand for the seven homes may outstrip supply, we decided to receive sealed bids. "We have shown there is a hunger for affordable, fuel-efficient homes using straw, a natural home-grown sustainable building material. The public can have values-led housing - and value for money."

The straw bale houses were built in just nine days, due to Bristol-based company ModCell's unique design of prefabricated straw bales sandwiched between timber frames, which slot together on-site. The first couple to put in an offer were Kevin and Belinda Beese, who live nearby and had been looking for a new build for them and their teenage daughter. When the pair, both aged 48, heard about they were straw bales houses they wanted one.

School receptionist Belinda said: "New houses like this don't come up very often in the area and so we wanted to have a look. As soon as we released they were bale houses, we put our house on the market and it sold within one day. "Since then we have just been waiting to put a deposit on – we even thought about camping out so we could be the first here on Saturday morning. "It would be unbelievable to get our hands on one of the houses. For us it is amazing."

Mr Connolly's company, Connolly and Callaghan, is hoping to build 49 more straw homes in nearby Ermine Way.

"Thanks to economies of scale, the next development will be cheaper, and have communal features including a common house and allotments in perpetuity," he said.

"We want to work with local authorities or landowners in a more co-operative way to deliver affordable community-led housing.

"If every link in the housing chain worked together, we could build homes differently - better and cheaper."

Manjit Kaur, regional sales manager of spicerhaart land & new homes, said:

"We have had so much interest - far more than we would expect on houses in this area due to the fact that they are straw bale and brand new."

 

Source: Bristol Post

ModCell The One Show

26 February 2015

The BBC's 'One Show' visits the straw bale houses in Bristol that use the ModCell straw bale system.

How to make a straw house 

BBC's Newsround features the ModCell straw bale panel being used on the new houses in Bristol.

Straw building proving the Three Little Pigs were right all along 

BBC's Newsround talks about the ModCell straw bale panel with Professor Pete Walker of the University of Bath.