The European Straw Bale Gathering is coming to Yorkshire for 2019

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The Europea Straw Bale Gathering 2019

The European Straw Bale Gathering is heading to the UK for the very first time in August 2019. Here to tell us more is Eileen Sutherland of The School of Natural Building.


The European Straw Bale Gathering (ESBG) is a biennial event, which the UK is privileged to be hosting, for the first time, in Todmorden, West Yorkshire. The European Straw Bale Gathering is one of the most important meetings of straw bale builders, professionals and admirers of this natural building method and material.

ESBG this year is part of the Interreg funded UP Straw project. In keeping with the aims of UP Straw, we will be demonstrating the wonderful insulation, fuel cost cutting and carbon reduction properties of building with straw to: planners, architects, public authorities, universities, self-builders and communities.

ESBG 2019 is all about…

  • Exploring healthy public buildings made from straw
  • Raising awareness of the benefits of constructing public buildings from straw
  • Highlighting features & benefits of straw bale buildings
  • Understanding public procurement, building regulations, green mortgages and insurance
  • Inspirational case studies
  • Networking for professionals and students in the sector

Straw is an excellent material for building and insulating new and existing buildings. Straw is CO2 negative because CO2 is stored in straw during growth, widely available, fully recyclable and has a rapid growth cycle. Straw is warm in winter and cool for ever!

Barbara Jones, Director of The School of Natural Building

A number of exciting speakers, from many European countries, have already been confirmed, including:

  • Herbert Gruber, from the European Straw Bale Association, will be talking about trans-national training opportunities
  • Wouter Klijn, from Straw Bale Netherlands, will be explaining how public buildings can be retrospectively wrapped in straw, thereby dramatically improving their insulation properties
  • Glynis Kirkwood, from Lordship Hub in Tottenham, will be describing how building a community centre from straw helped revitalise and energise an inner-city neighbourhood
  • Murray Davidson, Environment & Natural Resources Manager Hastings Borough Council, will be talking about public procurement and straw, with the intriguing title: ‘Public procurement of straw bale buildings – a step up or the straw that breaks the camel’s back!’

As well as 3 full days of stimulating talks and workshops, ESBG participants will also have the chance to visit some amazing straw bale buildings in and around West Yorkshire, including one home to The Ecology Building Society in Halifax, pictured below.

The European Straw Bale Gathering 2019 includes a tour of local straw-bale buildings such as this one in Halifax

ESBG 2019 will bring together expert thinkers and doers to focus on the potential for straw in addressing the CO2 crisis in construction. Did you know? A small straw bale house will store around 10 tonnes of CO2, and rather than being a liability to the environment, it becomes a carbon asset for the lifespan of that building.

Event Details

  • Dates: Thursday 15 August to Sunday 18 August 2019
  • Location: Todmorden Learning Centre, Todmorden, West Yorkshire
  • Tickets: Full Conference: £195 to £250. Day Tickets: £70 to £95
  • Event Website: www.esbg2019.org/tickets

For more details, ring Eileen Sutherland on 07857 890805 or email her at [email protected]

The Interreg-funded UP Straw, of which the School of Natural Building is involved in.