Energy efficiency is one big key towards climate neutrality. Especially our homes can have a big impact on our carbon footprint, if they are not isolated properly or if the stove is already two centuries old. Energy poverty is a huge issue on the Balkan, not only causing high carbon emissions but also immense health risks for those who are affected.
In many cases financial problems are the reason for catastrophic houses like this. And, unfortunately there is mostly no or not enough financial support from governments or other institutions to enhance them. But what if I tell you that there are ways to build highly efficient houses without a lot of money, which are on top of that made out of organic and biodegradable materials for the most part.
The method we use in Sieben Linden are straw-clay buildings. The buildings contain to round about 60% of the organic materials straw, clay and wood. These materials are pretty much everywhere available, which saves transportation costs and emissions. Also, the manufacturing process is simple compared to conventional buildings, which makes a lot of personal contribution possible. This saves a lot of money and makes straw-clay buildings also affordable to financially weaker people.
The biggest strength of straw-clay houses is the straw. Straw as an isolation material causes way less emissions and has a much lower manufacturing energy than conventional isolators. Still, it meets the highest standards. Thanks to almost one-meter-thick straw bales in our walls, a small wood stove is enough to keep a big house warm, even in the coldest German winters.
The straw bales are pressed into prepared wood constructions. The outcome are separated and flexible elements, that can get put together like a puzzle. Once the elements are brought in position and fixed, they get covered by a clay mixture, which is a very breathable and ecological alternative to conventional platers.
In Sieben Linden all buildings are made like this and the method is getting more popular all over the world and I hope it will spread more and more!