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Modular homes in recycled paper

Using recycled products in house construction

When Fredy Iseli acquired a packaging company in 1989, this was when the basic idea of developing and producing innovative products out of corrugated cardboard came about, but it was an idea that needed a few years to mature and take on clearer form. As of 1996 the company founder started to concentrate on developing honeycomb technology and setting up a respective production line. Recycled paper – a secondary basic material available in almost limitless supplies – serves as the starting material for Ecocell elements, and as such involves corrugating the paper and bonding it into flame-resistant and waterproof honeycomb panels. Nature provided the inspiration – namely honeycombs complete with wax cells characterised by high compression strength and thermal insulation. This led to a prototype produced by coating raw, corrugated cardboard in cement in an industrial process, thus creating the basis for converting untreated honeycomb panels into Ecocell Betonwabe® panels. Used in combination with wood, bamboo, metal or concrete panels, the elements withstand enormous static loads and their energy budget is superior to that of comparable structures in concrete, brick or solid wood. In addition, they weigh twelve times less than concrete.

ECO-Solar modular homes

At present the company is erecting terraced and semi-detached buildings in the Eco-Solar modular home approach in Uttwill, Switzerland, whereby each house can be put up in a mere four days. Fredy Iseli refers to Ecocell modules used to build the residential properties as simple "Lego building kits" that are fitted together in a tongue- and groove system. As they can also be glued or screwed together while doing so, this means that even laymen can put their own home together. The elements are extremely lightweight and can be carried by two people. Depending on whether intended for use as outer walls, floors, ceilings or partition walls, the modules have a single, double or treble-layer sandwich design accordingly.

The material and the system won the 2016 GreenTec Award 2016 in the "Construction" category as the "best environmental project of the year".

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