With the first pig's experience in Three Little Pigs excepted, the world early on found straw to be a useful building material. Of course, as humanity became smarter and things got more complex, the world moved on to sturdier materials.
But proving again that everything old is new, a company named Stramit USA (a subsidiary of Stramit UK) is bringing back straw as a sustainable building material with some high-tech upgrades. At its 88,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Fort Worth, Texas, Stramit USA is filling the need for traditional light-gauge materials with its proprietary and sustainable compressed agricultural fiber (CAF) product called Stramit CAFboard. The "agricultural fiber" is straw, as reported by ThomasNet News.
Straw is a largely worthless and voluminous waste by-product of the wheat farming industry. Through Stramit CAFboard, Stramit USA puts it to use, replacing traditional materials like fiberglass insulation, gypsum board, medium-density fiberboard, particle board and sound-proofing panels in a wide range of commercial and residential structures. It's also nearly carbon-neutral and about as green as a modern building material can get, being nontoxic and mold- and pest-resistant. And, no doubt, wheat farmers will be delighted to find a market for the tons of straw they generate and currently leave to compost.
"The concept of taking a valueless by-product from one process — in this case, the wheat harvest — and creating something of value is what we refer to as 'upcycling,'" said Phil Morley, Stramit USA's director of design who's also a LEED Accredited Professional and a member of the American Institute of Architects. "Stramit's process produces a carbon-neutral product that is strong and durable. These materials are good for the environment from start to finish and can help those seeking LEED credits for their building projects."
Read more about building a green home.