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Yes, we can build with straw, earth and wood in Taiwan!

In 2018, during the Taichung Flora Expo, a unique charming house was born: a house for a family of four (四口之家). This project was monitored by Davis Liu (劉德輔). According to him, it was the first time that straw has been used to fill the walls of a house in Taiwan!

Straw not only has the advantage of storing carbon, it is also a natural material often used for insulation. Thus, the temperature inside this house remains between 21 and 27 degrees all year round!

The Taiwan Sustainable Homestead Association (TSHA) aims to protect this house and to promote the use of natural materials such as straw, wood and earth, in the construction sector in Taiwan, on a larger scale than it is today. If this kind of ecological housing can be made affordable to more people through upscaling and industrial process, it could substantially reduce the impact of the construction sector on global warming.

This “house for a family of four” is also a model that contributes to promoting a more sustainable and happier way of life.

In this podcast, Davis Liu introduces this house. He also tells us about his life journey: how did he change his life? How did his dream come true? Where did he draw his inspiration from?

“Then, I decided that, although my business was good, I would stop my photography activity, because I thought that the planet is not short of a talented photographer, but needs more people who are willing to do more for the environment.”
“We want Taiwanese to know that they can choose to have this way of life, they don’t necessarily have to be locked in a cage made of concrete. We hope to live more in harmony with nature, and to bring plants and insects inside their homes.”
“Taiwan burns too much straw every year, and the air is polluted. We need to save energy and to be eco-friendly. Building houses using waste or by-products of agriculture is something that our ancestors around the world did. Why wouldn’t we do it again? Of course, in the past, our ancestors in Taiwan did not use straw to fill walls, but I discovered that building a house with straw can be very quick, and it can transform the straw which otherwise would have been burnt. Besides, straw retains carbon in the building, while at the same time regulating the temperature inside the house, which is comfortable both during winter and summer. The technique is quite easy, so I thought we should introduce it here.”
“If Taiwan could use its own materials, for example local earth, to build with standardized natural materials, then it could be promoted more quickly. It’s a pity that people active in this field nowadays in Taiwan are not willing to cooperate. I think it’s a problem.”

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Photos © Sasa

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