University of Bayreuth, Press Release 130/2022 of 09.08.2022

Straw - material of the future?

Building with loam and straw is an old method and yet has pioneering character. In addition to the first pilot project, the University of Bayreuth is also hosting the first conference in this field: the StrohBallenBauTage from 13 to 15 September 2022. 

Straw, which is actually a by-product in agriculture, can be an important resource. The members of forum1.5 at the University of Bayreuth are convinced of this. In straw bale buildings, straw bales are used as a compartment in a timber frame or in load-bearing construction like bricks for the walls. Elena Michel, sustainability researcher in the forum1.5 team, explains the relevance of this method: "The building sector is often forgotten in the debate about climate protection. Yet it is responsible for a large share of CO2 emissions because conventional building materials, such as cement, emit CO2 through chemical reactions during the production process. On top of that, production requires a lot of energy." But there are alternatives. In the long term, we want to put people in the region in touch with one another who want to establish a regional 'straw construction' value chain. That's why we are establishing an understanding of these sustainable building techniques," adds Jermaine Hermann, who is enrolled in the master's programme Urban & Regional Research and a member of the forum1.5 team.

A pilot project that started at the end of May aims to disseminate practical knowledge about building with clay and straw. A shelter at a meadow orchard in Obernsees is being converted into a workshop space. The participatory learning project will run until mid-October. Information on the current state of construction and opportunities to participate can be found at: Through crowdfunding, which ended at the beginning of August, the project was supported by around 20 supporters and a sum of approximately €8,000 was collected. "We would like to sincerely thank all those who supported the project financially and with their ideas," says Elena Michel, initiator of the project, "because it is only through this appreciation and these contributions that the pilot project 'Straw Room at the Apple Tree' has been made possible.”

And after this pilot project, things will continue. To expand the network, the StrohBallenBauTage will be held for the first time on 13 and 14 September 2022 in Bayreuth at the University of Bayreuth. Under the motto "The Material of the Future", the two-day conference will be intensively dedicated to load-bearing straw bale construction and will thus delve into crucial questions surrounding the urban construction of tomorrow and the contribution of regional materials. Raw materials of load-bearing straw bale construction will be examined from different perspectives. Practical examples from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy will be presented and the state of research on load-bearing construction will be presented. "The conference will be the first of its kind in Germany to deal so specifically with load-bearing straw bale construction. I am looking forward to the networking opportunities and the professional exchange. There is a lot of potential in load-bearing straw construction, which has been developing more and more in recent years," says Florian Hoppe, board member of the Fachverband Strohballenbau (FASBA e.V.) and himself a straw construction architect. The conference is geared specifically towards architects, civil engineers, craftsmen, farmers, builders, students, and anyone else who is interested in learning more about the subject.

For more information, registration and the programme, see:

About forum1.5
forum1.5 is a research project carried out by Urban & Regional Development group at the University of Bayreuth. The research project analyses the conditions for success in establishing regional climate protection cooperation. In the research project, the University of Bayreuth’s Urban & Regional Development group supports and fosters transformative practices (e.g. by way of “real labs”). In this way, systemic changes are to be achieved in Bayreuth and Upper Franconia.

Elena Michel

Elena Michel

Research Associate in the RegioTransform project, researcher on building and housing transition in the forum1.5 team

Phone: +49 (0) 921/554677

Jennifer Opel

Jennifer OpelDeputy Press & PR Manager

Phone: +49 (0)921 / 55-5357