Many tiny home builders often consider a variety of materials that are not commonly used in todays cookie cutter homes. One material that you are likely to have never heard of is Papercrete.
Papercrete is a combination of what seems like some pretty unlikely elements. Recycled paper, cement, water and sand are combined to create a material that is surprisingly strong and extremely cheap. Most environmentalists like Papercrete because it uses recycled paper and sand. However, some also dislike the fact that the material also uses concrete. Concrete is sometimes frowned upon as traditional concrete is not a very green building material. That stated, however, the amount of concrete used in Papercrete is far less than in a completely concrete home. The controversy does not end paper there. Many feel that Papercrete, while an interesting concept, is just not a viable building material.
There are a few developments that might be of interest where the future of the material is concerned. Econovate is a company that sees all the millions of tons of paper waste as a real building opportunity. They point to some interesting facts; such as that fifty percent of all paper waste in the UK is actually sent to China for recycling. This process, of course, creates CO2 due to the transport of the paper waste. Econovate feels that if there was a way of dealing with all this paper waste around the world that a major reduction in pollution could occur. Their concept for how to deal with the issue is a pretty brilliant one. The Econovate plan could address both pollution and the global housing shortage.
Papercrete Wall Panels and Papercrete Blocks are two of the ideas that Econovate is currently excited about. Their concept is to actually create wall panel sections and building blocks using Papercrete. The hope is that this very environmentally friendly project would be ready by 2011. The research and development is currently being done in conjunction with the University of Cambridge, and has numerous heavy weights helping with the funding.
What is most exciting about Papercrete is that some bright people decided not to give up on this potentially exciting material. Papercrete is cheap, comparatively eco-friendly, and could help reduce CO2 emissions considerably. If Econovate and the University of Cambridge are successful, tiny homebuilders might have a very cheap new building material very soon.