Straw in the retrofitting existing buildings: surveys and prospects


The article aims to investigate the feasibility of straw as an alternative to traditional construction materials, with particular reference to the retrofit of buildings. This paper is part of the international debate on environmental sustainability, energy efficiency, and rehabilitation of the existing building heritage and reports the results of research carried out at the Department of Architecture and Design of the Politecnico di Torino. After initial research and classification of the main construction techniques that can be used to realize straw thermal coats, a survey was started to collect opinions on the use of straw in construction from professionals and potential users.

At the same time, one on-site measurement campaign was carried out to assess the thermal transmittance of the straw insulation coat.
The different investigations – literature research, surveys, experimentation – highlighted the strengths and weaknesses of the use of straw and identified possible scenarios for its wider application in Italy.