Cardboard houses could change the construction industry: cheap and easy to build

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The advantages of using tube structures and honeycomb insulation panels compared to traditional materials are numerous, as well as being a sustainable and recyclable option.

According to the U.S. Green Building Council, the construction industry is highly polluting and consumes 40% of the world's energy. For decades, ecological alternatives have been sought, such as wood, which offers great benefits in insulating homes, and improving their energy efficiency.

Honeycomb board, composed of Kraft paper facings and a core of hexagonal cells glued together, makes it compression-resistant, 100% recyclable, strong and load-bearing. In addition, it offers excellent thermal and acoustic performance, with the ability to reduce exterior noise, absorb shock and maintain stable interior temperatures of around 24.5°C despite increased heat outside. Its light weight also reduces the need for solid foundations, which reduces construction time and cost.

In France, this more ecological option, compared to traditional construction, is beginning to spread and several builders have turned to this type of panel to build a dozen or so walls. Nicolas Le Dirach and Aurélie Le Clanche, a French couple, decided to build their 140 m2 house using a wooden frame, 18 metal piles screwed to the ground and 80% honeycomb board (IPAC panels) to insulate the house from the outside without the need for concrete. To solve the problem of waterproofing the cardboard, they used recycled plastic that prevents the passage of moisture and water.

Companies such as Bat'IPAC in France and Fiction Factory in the Netherlands have used cardboard as a building material in their projects. The former uses honeycomb cardboard panels to form the walls of houses, while the latter makes sturdy, well-insulated modular houses called Wikkelhouse. Both companies offer energy-efficient and durable modular houses and structures with a lower environmental impact than traditional housing.

The use of cardboard in construction is being explored in several countries, but the pioneer was Japanese Pritzker Prize winner Shigeru Ban, who experimented in 1986 with cardboard tubes as interior partitions for temporary and semi-permanent structures. He also uses them for exteriors, applying waterproof paint and fireproof treatments. His first house with this material was built in 1993, and since then he has included it in all his projects as part of his signature.


Las ingeniosas casas de cartón que cambiarán la construcción: baratas y se montan en tres días |El Español: Omicrono. Retrieved April 5th, 2023 from

Construyen su casa de cartón sin hormigón, en sólo tres días | EcoInventos. Retrieved March, 28th, 2023 from

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