In May this year I was fortunate to visit Iewan, the largest straw bale social housing project in The Netherlands. My in-laws had sent me a flyer about the project some time ago. I stuck it on the wall in my home office. What inspired me was not just that it was largely built with straw, or that it was a social and affordable housing project, but that it was partly built by future residents and a large number of volunteers.
Iewan is a housing co-operative in the Netherlands consisting of 24 apartments, each with their own kitchen and bathroom. There are homes for single and two person households, and also homes for group living and families.
The sustainability features are impressive and include natural building materials (straw, clay paints, timber), grey and black water (no connection to sewerage), rainwater capture and re-use, solar passive design. The building is not connected to gas, has solar PV and a collective pellet heater.
Worth mentioning are the double glazed window frames that are made from so called Accoya. Accoya is an engineered wood product, the result of decades of research and development in wood modification. The result is a high performance wood, ideal for outdoor uses such as window frames: you do not need to pait it and it needs little to no maintenance.
The October/November 2016 edition of the The Owner Builder (www.theownerbuilder.com.au) features an article by Eugenie Stockmann on Iewan. To read the full article, get your copy of The Owner Builder Magazine from your local news agency or download here.