More than 1 billion people are currently living in slums worldwide, and this figure is expected to double by 2030. Existing affordable roofing options either compromise health and quality of life (e.g. asbestos cement, corrugated metal, clay tiles) or are prohibitively expensive (concrete slab). There is a need for safe, high quality, aspirational roofing options for low-income housing that are significantly cheaper than concrete.
Project Vision and Strategy
ReMaterials is a startup company in Ahmedabad, India that has developed an innovative low cost modular roofing tile system for local low-income housing based on coated compressed recycled cardboard. These tiles offer significant improvements in quality of life and health over the lowest cost options and can potentially be sold at a much lower price than concrete, filling a large market gap.
This project brings together researchers from Civil and Environmental Engineering at UC Berkeley and the Berkeley Center for Green Chemistry to rapidly accelerate technology development and eventual impact of Re-Materials modular roofing tiles. Collaborating closely with manufacturers, salesman and future customers will help ensure that the product meets real needs with a proper focus on rapid scale-up, particularly important in the context of developing countries.
In 2016, the Re-Materials sales team grew to four, all of whom are based in Ahmedabad with insight and connections in the target markets to provide feedback used to iterate the product and business model. Susan Amrose, UC Berkeley Project Scientist, and Ernie Thuerer, a Berkeley undergraduate student, made a technical visit to Ahmedabad in January, completing the installation of several data logging temperature sensors in homes with ModRoofs and traditional corrugated metal roofing. The Berkeley team is currently developing preliminary experiments to test a potential novel antimicrobial additive that could enhance performance of our existing additives and add long term mold resistance to the tiles, particularly during the drying stage.
- Susan Amrose, Assistant Project Scientist and Lecturer, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UC Berkeley
Relevant Press and Publications
- ModRoof promises a safer shelter for low-income families (Gizmag, September 2015)