Styrofoam is one of the most versatile and useful materials out there; from uses ranging from containers to insulators, packaging materials, and even dinnerware. But none of the applications can come close in significance than the material being used as a building material of the future.
Japan’s modular houses are increasingly using Styrofoam to build their earthquake-resistant, ultra light, houses in a super cheap and quick fashion. Adding to the long list of benefits, the houses are also thermally insulated and fire resistant! Why aren’t we funding this already?
Although Japan Dome House has been building Styrofoam houses for the last 15 years, the popularity only peaked last year after Japan’s Kumamoto was shaken badly by a magnitude 7.0 earthquake in April 2016, killing 49 people and injured another 3,000. Over 44,000 people were displaced after their homes collapsed, and thousands of them are still living in makeshift camps. But in all this destruction and chaos, one place that did not suffer damages was Kyushu’s Village Zone, which was made up of 480 closely-packed dome-shaped Styrofoam houses constructed by Japan Dome House.
The results were on display for everyone to see, so the tragic Kumamoto disaster came as a very horrific yet effective advertisement for the styrofoam houses that simply need to be glued together to be built. The structures only weigh about 80 kg, and when combined with the dome shapes and lack of beams, it makes for a very strong anti-earthquake building.
Using proprietary technology, the company has developed a special kind of Styrofoam that is much stronger than the one used in food containers or packaging material. According to RealEstate.co.jp,
“The beads in conventional polystyrene are expanded about 50% to 60% the original size of the styrene monomer, causing the absorption of a large amount of oxygen. Japan Dome House has developed a method which only expands the styrene monomers about 20% and minimizes the absorption of oxygen. This makes the material much stronger than conventional foam while keeping its highly insulating qualities.”
A dome house can host three people and can be glued together in just one week. The house costs between ¥7 million and ¥8 million ($68,700 and $78,500) for a structure measuring about 36-sqm (387-sqft) and a ceiling height of 3 meters (9.8 feet). The ultralight structure also doesn’t rust and rot, so they are very durable.
With so many pros, this is bound to get mainstream!