Families from the poorest regions of the world more often than not cover their already lacking homes with corrugated metal roofs. It’s a low cost solution, but in most cases doesn’t prevent leaks, and certainly has very little insulation value. What’s more, they’re often full of toxic substances such as asbestos. To fix these shortcomings, the Indian startup ReMaterials has come up with a modular roofing system called ModRoof, which is sustainable, affordable, and everything a roof should be.
The panels for the ModRoof are made in Ahmedabad, India using recycled agricultural and packaging waste such as cardboard and coconut fibers, which are all sourced locally. The actual production process of each ModRoof panel is very simple and consists of a crushing stage, followed by a mixing stage, compression stage, drying stage and finally the waterproofing stage. The resulting roof panels are impervious to water, fire-resistant, and quiet when it rains, which is a special bonus during the monsoon period.
To assemble them into a roof, the panels are first interlocked and then a sealant is applied. ModRoof has an R-Value of 0.28 Km2/W, while tests conducted in the summer months showed that homes fitted with a ModRoof had an average interior temperature of 96 °F (36 °C), which is quite a bit lower than the 107.6 °F (42 °C) measured in homes with metal roofs. ModRoof has a lifespan of more than 20 years with next to no maintenance needed.
The next hurdle will be making it available to those who need it the most, at a price that is still acceptable. The company has yet to announce the price, though they say it will be 4 to 7 times cheaper than concrete roofs, but clearly a bit more expansive than the corrugated metal roofs.
The company is currently also developing a roof panel which will have integrated solar cells. This will allow the occupants to power LED lights and smaller gadgets. Once this stage is complete, they will begin offering their roof panels at home as well as internationally.