Inexpensive - A block 12" by
8" by 5" can be made for 15 cents or less, depending on
the amount of cement used.
Strong - Papercrete and
fibrous adobe are extremely strong, due to the presence of
millions of fibers.
Lightweight - A block as
above weighs only 3.5 lbs.
Insulating - Papercrete has
so much dead air space that it makes an excellent insulator. A
Papercrete wall requires no additional insulation. See an
example here. (It's the
pink building near the bottom.)
On-site Manufacture - You
make your own building materials where you will use
If you are considering materials for
building a house, add Papercrete to your list of
possibilities. There are good reasons to build with Papercrete,
as you have just seen. You'll be making use of unused (waste)
paper, recycling it into a usable shelter. Of all the materials
one can build with, Papercrete has little 'embodied energy',
the total amount of energy (fossil fuels, for example)
necessary to gather raw materials and process them into a
product, then ship it for sale to the public. If one considers
that the paper is actually discarded waste, the question of its
energy doesn't arise, because it has been used and is now
available for a second use.
Portland cement, however, is
relatively energy-intensive to produce, so one must come to
terms with that fact when selecting materials from which to
build. It is possible to substitute some or even all of the
cement with clay or clay soil, thus making 'fibrous adobe',
reducing the embodied energy to practically nothing. It's
properties are similar to Papercrete, but different enough to
warrant examination, so experimentation is necessary to
determine if it will serve your needs. Fibrous adobe is closer
in properties to adobe - heavier, more compressive strength,
less-insulating. See the description of papercrete for more
information here. Watch
a movie about Papercrete and the Tow-mixer here.