Ballast Nedam Development launches climate positive Nature House made of straw

Ballast Nedam Development is taking an iconic step with the Nature House and will develop climate-positive straw-built houses. This is the outcome of a search for a scalable climate-positive house, which started at the end of 2021. Ballast Nedam Development aims to introduce the new normal for living in the Netherlands and unleash a materials transition.

The combination of Strotec, architecten|en|en and Bouwbedrijf Van Herpen has been chosen as the winner of the Natuurhuis competition. The first pilot project will take place in Heeze in the province of Noord-Brabant. Construction of the first Ballast Nedam Development nature house is expected to start in mid-2023.

Climate-positive, bio-based & CO2 storage

With the Natuurhuis, Ballast Nedam Development is striking out in a new direction. The climate-positive home is being made accessible to a wider public. The Nature House fulfils the high sustainability ambitions and at the same time focuses on affordability and scalability. By using prefabricated straw panels, it is possible to build on a large scale. The house is more than 95% biobased. Besides straw, a residual product from the agricultural sector, a whole range of other bio-based materials are used. As a result, this house saves 90 tonnes of CO2.

Energy-positive, nature-inclusive & climate-adaptive

The Nature House is energy-positive and produces more energy than it uses. This makes the house a small power station. Another important aspect of the Natuurhuis is nature-inclusive and climate-adaptive construction. This is reflected in the design, which seeks the connection with nature. Nature is brought inside, as it were, and the façade and the roof are largely covered with greenery.

The greenery and natural aspects act as a buffer for water management and counteract heat stress. The design is for people, animals and the planet. The Nature House offers Ballast Nedam Development the opportunity to make a positive climate impact and to achieve a large-scale change in the sector.

A next step

Ballast Nedam Development is known as the urban developer that was the first to switch entirely to gasless construction in 2017, well before the legislation. Since 2019, the entire portfolio of ground-level homes has been developed energy-neutral. In 2021, Ballast Nedam Development launched its own 'construction' Decree, which prescribes stricter standards than the Buildings Decree. The Nature House in 2022 is the next step towards climate-positive housing.

The winning design

The winning design is by architecten|en|en - a partner of Strotec. Construction company Van Herpen will build the houses in Heeze. Strotec is the Dutch supplier of prefab straw panels made by EcoCocon. This supplier offers a complete wall system with exactly tailored HSB straw elements. The modules are load-bearing up to five layers, have an excellent Rc value and store CO2 from the atmosphere. In addition, the straw panel is certified, which makes it a responsible product, very suitable to build with and, moreover, applicable on a large scale. 

The Ballast Nedam Development Nature House will soon be launched on the market and interested parties can register. The first eight Nature Houses will appear in the North Brabant village of Heeze. Interested parties can already register online.