Frequently Asked Questions


What is the life expectancy of an EcoCocon building?

Straw and wood are both materials that are made to last. The oldest wooden building is more than 1,300 years old. Modern straw-bale building techniques date back to the beginning of the last century. The first houses built in Europe (1921) and the US (1925) are still in pristine condition. We offer a 25 year producer guarantee for the insulation layer and 50 years for structural integrity. However, as long as the installation standards are met, the life expectancy of an EcoCocon building can be measured in centuries.

How do EcoCocon buildings resist fire?

Contrary to popular belief, straw and wood buildings resist fire very well. The straw in our panels is compressed at a density of 110kg/m³ (6.9 Ib/ft3), leaving no space for oxygen that would fuel the fire. Straw has a high content of silica, a natural fire retardant. When burning, both materials create a charcoal insulation layer on the surface that protects them from flames. 

Combined with clay plaster, our panels are rated to withstand two hours of intense fire according to the REI 120 and REIef120 certifications, meeting strict fire safety requirements. In fact, after two hours of over 1000°C (1832°F) on one side, the other side showed an average temperature increase of only 17.7°C (63.9°F).

Do EcoCocon buildings attract rodents and insects?

No more than brick or concrete buildings. While hay may be attractive for its leafy material, straw only contains cellulose and is not a food source. Rodents enjoy building tunnels and look for cavities. Highly compressed straw is not a suitable environment for them.   

Insects do not fare much better. Termites have no particular interest in straw. Standard protective measures should be taken in areas where they are active. 

Although rare, booklice can appear in straw buildings. These tiny insects sometimes multiply in conditions of high relative humidity, and typically disappear on their own in a matter of weeks. While they can be a short-term nuisance, they are harmless to both humans and property. 

The bottom line is, pests are just as common in straw houses as they are in conventional houses and same prevention measures apply.  

Why do you use an airtight layer on the outside of the straw panels?

Any gaps in the construction can lead to warm, moist air escaping and condensing in the structure. The airtight layer ensures that your construction has an extraordinarily long life without any hidden damage. Airtightness greatly minimises heat loss and drafts in the house.

Why do you use a wood fibre board on the outside?

The wood fibre board adds another level of security to the construction, as any potential damages to the facade will not impact the load-bearing structure of our straw panels. It also provides an even surface that can be plastered with regular plaster systems certified for wood fibre boards.

How many houses have been built with EcoCocon?

Since 2013, about 300 EcoCocon buildings have been built in 25 different countries on 3 continents, storing nearly 4,000,000 kg of CO2 combined.   

Where are the panels built and is it ecological to import them?

At this moment, our only production facility is located in Kybartai, Lithuania. Our goal is to gradually set up local production in all the countries where we are present. 

Our panels are contributing very positively to the climate. This is partly thanks to the CO2 sequestered in the straw and wood, and partly due to the fact that the straw is a byproduct of the agricultural sector, and is already being produced. Even if you transport them 2000 km (1242 mi) by a lorry, they still sequester about twice as much CO2 than what is released during the transport. By using our panels you are replacing carbon-intensive materials such as concrete, brick or polystyrene, thereby improving the climate footprint even more.

What are the acoustics like in an EcoCocon building?

EcoCocon panels have excellent sound insulating properties - resistance to the passage of sound of 54 dB. This greatly exceeds the standard requirements and results in exceptional acoustic comfort. 

I am an allergy sufferer, is your system out of the question?

Not at all. Do not mistake straw for hay - whereas hay is grass and contains pollen, straw is cellulose and harmless. What’s more, in combination with clay plaster, our walls effectively regulate the indoor humidity and your allergy symptoms might be relieved. 

How thin can walls built from EcoCocon panels be?

The standard thickness of EcoCocon panels is 40 cm. This does not include interior finish (approx. 3 cm), exterior wood fibre layer (6-10 cm) nor render/ventilated facade. Thus, the entire wall may reach up to 60 cm. 

We offer a thinner variant as well with a thickness of 30 cm. The finished wall is then up to 50 cm thick, depending on the chosen build-up. 

Where can I find technical documents and certificates?

  A wealth of useful documents can be found in the Download section on our website.  

Your project

How much does EcoCocon cost?

The construction costs are roughly comparable to a passive house. The system pays off in the long run thanks to minimum operating expenses. 

As a rule of thumb, using healthy and natural materials is always slightly more expensive compared to industrial products. Just like when you buy organic food. This is due to the so-called “internalised environmental costs”, which means that we as producers look after the future by delivering a product that does not require future generations to pay for cleaning up after us.

Nevertheless, the walls only account for about 10-20% of the overall construction budget. The exact cost always depends on the particular project. Send us your drawings and we will get back to you with a non-binding estimate.

To get a clearer idea of the total price of the house, you will need to consult your building company. We can provide the information necessary for the company to estimate the labour costs for installing EcoCocon.    

How many floors can I build?

Our system has a load-bearing capacity for up to 6 storeys. To overcome this limitation, our panels can also be used as insulation in combination with another load-bearing structure.

Is my EcoCocon house going to be automatically passive?

No. While EcoCocon creates the best conditions for the Passivhaus standard to be achieved, there are other important factors that come into play. These include the orientation of the house, the selection of windows, the roof insulation, etc. The energy performance of a passive house always needs to be verified by a PHPP calculation.

Will my architect and building company be able to work with EcoCocon?

Any building company that builds timber constructions should be more than capable of the task. ­Our team is ready to assist your architect and builders every step of the way. We guarantee that your project will benefit from using our system - by reducing construction time while maintaining full flexibility in design.

I have a project designed with a different material. Does it need to be modified?

Even if your project is already designed with a different material in mind, switching to EcoCocon usually does not require any major changes. You can contact us at any stage of the project and we will help you with the next steps.

I am planning on building a house. I do not have a project yet, but I would like to use the EcoCocon system. How should I proceed?

If you have a vision for your new home, the first step is to contact an architect, who will prepare a project. Our consultants are ready to provide technical support if necessary. Alternatively, we can connect you with one of our affiliated architects, who have experience working with our system. 

Once your project is ready, we use it to calculate a price estimate for exterior walls. Our basic offer includes preparation of a technical panel project, EcoCocon wall panels, along with assembly and airtightness materials. We can supply fibre boards, interior clay plasters, or other useful materials as well. 

We will also be happy to provide contact details of construction companies that work with our system. As a result, you will have a clearer idea of the final price, and you will be able to make an informed decision. 

I am an architect. What design constraints can I expect when working with the EcoCocon wall system?

While EcoCocon panels are made to measure and can fit almost any design, there are a few limitations to keep in mind. 

For instance, although it is possible to achieve a round wall effect, we do not produce round panels. Also, the walls need to be vertical, not leaning. 

The angle of a gable roof should ideally be between 1º and 50º, and the minimum height of lintels is 400 mm (this limitation can be overcome by using our special Box Lintels instead). Should you wish to place a panel between two wall openings, the distance needs to be ≥ 400 mm, as that is the minimum width of EcoCocon panels. 

The specifics of our building elements can be found here.

Are there any design principles to keep in mind to make my project cost-efficient?

There are a few things to think about in the design process to optimise the panel costs. Smaller panels are more expensive. Therefore, you can try to avoid having many small openings in a wall. Gable roof also tends to increase the average price slightly. 

When you design the height of a single floor, it should ideally not exceed 3 metres, which is the maximal height of our panels. It is possible to go higher, but that would mean stacking several smaller panels on each other, increasing both production costs and installation time. 

Project implementation

How do you take care of an EcoCocon building?

EcoCocon buildings don’t require any special maintenance. As for all other types of construction, the walls need to be protected against direct contact with water.

What interior finishes can I use?

While you can use an array of standard interior finishes such as gypsum or Fermacell, to get the most out of our system, we strongly encourage you to use clay plaster. Clay acts as an effective humidity regulator. It absorbs excess humidity and releases it when the humidity levels drop creating a high level of comfort. Its toxin-removing properties have been known for thousands of years. It absorbs harmful substances emitted by modern interior elements and helps you create an even healthier indoor environment. 

What exterior finishes can I use?

You can use a vapour-permeable plaster or any kind of ventilated facade. The plaster needs to assure a w-value (coefficient of water absorption) of <0.1 kg/m2 * h (<0.33 oz/ft2 * h).

Can I build a house with your system myself?

If you have the requisite skills, certainly. We offer a detailed assembly guide for self-builders. Additionally, we can recommend a professional, who will visit the construction site and offer support.   

Do you build turnkey houses?

We are a manufacturer of straw panels for buildings’ exterior walls. Construction involves many other components, such as windows, roof, etc. Though we are not a building company, we can connect you with ones that have experience working with our system.