It’s everyone’s dream to have a roof over their head. However, that roof can turn into a nightmare if it’s one which leaks, breaks or heats up the interior to dangerous levels in a hot climate like that of India. A new low-cost and eco-friendly roofing system, called ModRoof, is driving many such nightmares under cover for those Indians who live in poverty in urban slums. And there’s a good chance the roofing system will soon include solar panels, too.
Solving Existing Roofing Problems
Up till now, Indians living in poverty-stricken areas have mainly been making use of metal or concrete sheets to cover their houses. However, dwellers in these units claim they face major problems, including severe heat because of lack of insulation; and deterioration leading to leaks, when using metal or concrete sheets.
Noise levels and leaks are at their highest levels during the monsoon season. Concrete slabs are occasionally chosen as the most workable option but are considered too expensive and difficult to install for most people in small villages or slum areas.
According to ModRoof’s manufacturers, start-up company ReMaterials, their new modular roof system deals with many of these problems by being strong, waterproof, fireproof – and likely to last for 20 years. It is also claimed to be quieter and more effective during monsoons, as well as more affordable than concrete slabs.
Recycling Waste Into Modular Roofs
So what makes up ModRoof? Agricultural and cardboard waste, locally-sourced from Ahmedabad in Gujarat, India, are the primary materials. These are recycled into modular units which are designed for ease of transport and installation – and so only individual units need replacement should there be damage. The flat rectangular units, which come standard in aqua, are joined together on site, and are supported on beams.
Working in Indian villages and slums on housing and solar energy installations inspired Hasit Ganatra, a University of South California engineering graduate, and now co-founder of ReMaterials, to come up with this more affordable and effective roofing system.
Solar Panels Part of ModRoof’s Future Plans
Around 70 installations have been made in Ahmedabad so far, but the company says it is ready to leave start-up stage and go for wider markets – perhaps, entering markets in other developing countries, like Brazil, Morocco or Mexico.
ModRoof is also not stopping with just covering houses. The company is also intent on providing a source of power to those in rural and low-income areas. ReMaterials has already developed a way to incorporate solar panels in its roofing units so that those living under them will be able to charge cell phones and power LED lights.