Hey! It’s a straw house for SDSU


Susan Smith-Community News Service

PIERRE – State lawmakers gave South Dakota State University initial approval to build a straw house on its Brookings campus.

The Senate passed a bill Jan. 23 that would allow construction of the building in McCrory Gardens.

Sen. Julie Bartling, D-Burke, said $17,800 in private donations and grants will pay for construction.

“This is just a small building, it will be free-standing,” she said.

It’s an opportunity for SDSU to explore the underutilized material of straw, Bartling said. SDSU plans to use the one room, straw bale structure for meetings, classes and labs, according to information on the Board of Regents Web site.

Straw bale construction is growing in popularity in the southwest’s arid climate because it is a low-cost material with efficient insulation qualities, according to the Regents’ site. Research in South Dakota’s climate could develop further markets for the materials.

“I think this might be an excellent opportunity as well to investigate the environmental impact of straw,” Bartling said.