Your morning cup of Joe might help you get out of bed. But it could also give you four walls to put your bed in. A company in Colombia is building homes with a custom, eco-friendly material partly made out otherwise wasteful coffee husks. And it might be a sustainable model to model future home construction around.
Woodpecker, located in Bogotá, Colombia, uses a lightweight building material to make affordable prefab homes. Their houses, which we first heard about at Fast Company, cost as little as $4,500. That’s because the company uses their own special material, “composed of vegetable fibers and polymer.” Woodpecker blends leftover coffee husks with recycled plastic. Two items that would otherwise be sitting in garbage dumps.
Known as WPC, the easy-to-assemble building blocks provide an alternative construction system that the company says is “100% friendly with the environment.” But customers don’t have to worry about safety. WPC boards still meets “high standards in quality and earthquake resistant design.”
The company began developing their WPC material nearly a decade ago. It also keeps costs down with large scale production. And they sell home kits—as well as ones for decks, walls, classrooms, and other buildings—that can be put together by anyone who can follow instruction. The kits’ steel frames and WPC boards easily snap together, without the use of hard-to-use tools.
WPC provides more than an environmentally sound way to recycle materials into homes though. A single house can be finished in a week. But with a concerted effort they can go up even faster. That makes them ideal for quick construction in areas that need immediate housing. The company donated two such kits after a Category 5 hurricane hit. Both went up in just five days.
The potential to help an area hit hard by a natural disaster is obvious. Or even just a locale that needs affordable housing. A safe, durable, lightweight, eco-friendly, cost-effective home could someday be where many people wake up to enjoy their first cup of coffee in the morning.