BaleHaus is a group that is made up by three firms; ModCell, White Design and Cadan Developments. The group has unveiled unique and new energy-efficient Passivhaus-certified houses that use a pre-fabricated straw insulation system that, as per the group, will reduce the heating bill by 90% when compared with a conventional and average home.
So far, these houses have been constructed in different kinds of sizes and shapes thus allowing the group to demonstrate the versatility of this unique construction system. Completed houses include 3-bedroom terraced townhouses as well as single bedroom apartments.
The sustainable tech that has been employed in each house varies a great deal as well. Photovoltaic assemblies in different sizes have been used along with rainwater harvesting and heat pumps that are air based. According to a representative from ModCell, the 90% reduction in heating bills has been based upon the data that was gathered from the LILAC housing project in Leeds. During this development, the 4-month winter heating bill for a single bedroom apartment was $27.50 and the bill for a 4-bedroom house stood at $76.
Looking at the resistance it offers to fire and structural integrity, we must say that this setup is quite safe. The fire resistance tests that were carried out on ModCell panel resulted in a time of over 2 hours, which is about 4 times the UK building regulations’ requirement. Structure was also able to withstand force winds of up to 120 mph without any problem.
The ModCel system offers panels that allow for a modular assembly and finish can be imparted by brick, slate cladding or wood. The panels are created from a timber frame and incorporate deep straw bale insulation which has been packed inside. The top has a wood fiber breather board.
The group has completed the LILAC project and also ‘BaleHaus at Bath’ that served as a research project at Bath University and is now serving as the institution’s department of hospitality. Another development is being carried out at Bristol and Cornwall while planning for another 50 homes is being carried out for Bristol Area.