A STUDENT who learnt to use straw bales to insulate a community centre during a recent workshop at Doonside is now planning to use them for his family home in Fiji.
Cosmo Whippy-Crowden, 16, of Lalor Park, who attends Colyton High School Trade School, said he would use the knowledge he had gained to improve the condition of his family's home.
He was one of 25 students who took part in the Blacktown Regional Economic and Employment Development program supervised by straw bale expert Frank Thomas at the end of last month.
They were completing 35 hours of work placement (Certificate II in Construction) required to obtain their HSC.
Cosmo said the experience gave him the opportunity to learn how to tie and construct walls using straw bales as well as how to spray mud.
"I learnt a lot and enjoyed the opportunity to work as a team with fellow students and people from the community," he said.
"I'm going to use my new skills in my Fiji house as well as teach other family members how to use straw bales to insulate their homes to save on energy costs.
"I come from a large family and saving money on living costs is important to us."
UrbanGrowth NSW (formerly Landcom) supported the workshop by agreeing to insulate its Bungarribee Community Resources Hub in the Bunya estate with straw bale.
Stuart McCowan, general manager development, said the bales had a better thermal mass, high insulation properties and good acoustics. "The point was to build a resource hub by the community and for the community using traditional construction processes," he said.