A blog about all things rural and agritourism related
Hay and Straw Storage as Insulation?January 9, 2012
Tags: bale insulation, barn heating, barn ventilation, chicken barn heating, hay storage, heating costs, natural ventilation, pig barn heating, prevailing winds, straw storage Categories: Agritecture : Woven Lea Farm Thesis, barn design, farm design, My Work & Portfolio, sustainable design, Technical
I'm sure you've heard of straw bale houses, but did you ever think that you could use your straw and hay storage as insulation for your farm buildings? Straw and Hay makes a great insulator because it is full of air pockets, air being a great thermal break that does not allow heat to be transferred to sensitive areas like inside barns where animals are living. By strategically locating hay and straw storage on your farm you can save cooling and heating costs for barns and houses depending on your farm needs.
This technique dates back to the pioneers who settled and started farming. A simple wooden structure would be placed in the pastures and covered with straw of hay. This would then provide shelter from the sun in the summer, and be a supplementary feeding for animals out to pasture.
We can also take this principle and apply it to a winter situation. As hay and straw are collected in through the summer and stored for use during the winter, strategic storage can provide wind breaks for barns in the winter. Keeping the prevailing cold winter winds away from the barn walls can significantly reduce heating requirements for the sensitive chickens or piglets. By also adding an extra layer of insulation the heating that is put into the barn stays inside longer. Not only that, but the convenience of having straw or hay located close to the feeding and bedding area is a bonus. As the hay and straw get used through the winter you are left with an open barn again that can take advantage of natural ventilation and prevailing summer winds.
With a little bit of planning this simple strategy could save you money on heating and ventilation costs over the long term. And this strategy costs less to install than bigger fans and bigger heaters up front. Please feel free to add comments and critiques on how this might be adapted to work for you on your farm.