When you live in a hurricane-prone region, you’ll inevitably have to contemplate the many ways to storm-proof your home. Maybe you’ll secure your windows with shutters, clad the walls in fiber cement siding, or take an elevated approach with flood-mitigating pillars. What you probably won’t ponder is the crazy possibility of building a storm-strong home out of recycled water bottles.
But a Canadian builder is urging you to reconsider. JD Composites, a construction company based in Nova Scotia, recently devised a smart way to build homes using plastic waste and—major bonus—the new method is both environmentally friendly and capable of withstanding 300 mph winds.
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Joel German and David Saulnier, the principals at the company, recently built a first-of-its-kind prototype to test these claims. The three-bedroom home along the Meteghan River in Nova Scotia is a modern ranch-style structure that, from the outside, looks like any other beach home. Unlike its neighbors, however, this dwelling is clad in more than 600,000 used water bottles.
To build the home, German and Saulnier utilized a method of breaking down the plastic bottles into a polyethylene terephthalate (PET) foam. They then fashioned the composite material into lightweight wall panels measuring 5.9 inches thick. The innovative material, while valuable as an environmentally friendly way of making use of plastic waste, is also resistant to rot, mildew, and termites.
And that’s not where the home’s impressive qualities stop. According to Popular Mechanics, the panels used to build the home were also subject to rigorous endurance testing. That meant pitting the foam walls used on the home against winds akin to a Category 5 hurricane (and then some). During testing, the lightweight structure was able to hold up, without damage, against 326-mph winds. (That’s more than twice the 157-mph starting level of a Cat 5.)
While the house is currently one-of-a-kind, the builders say they hope to expand the offerings of structures made with the recycled plastic product. “There’s a lot more than just building a few custom homes a year,” German told the Hants Journal. “There could be hurricane or disaster relief shelters, hunting cabins, sheds, you name it.”
Until that happens, those who want a truly unique coastal place to call home can soon snag this one: The builders say they plan to list the 2,000-square-foot prototype (which comes with three bedrooms, an open kitchen and living space, and rooftop deck) for sale soon.
Who’s calling dibs?