Coffee, as we all know, is the substance that gives us life. Where would we be without it? Now a company in Colombia is using coffee husks to build houses. So we can literally live in coffee. Isn’t that beautiful?
The company, Woodpecker, based in Bogotá, has combined coffee husks, the papery material that falls off when the beans are roasted, with recycled plastic to create a new building material that it uses to make the walls of pre-fab houses. The husks would otherwise be dumped in methane-producing piles of waste. The houses cost as little as $4,500.
“We saw that there was a huge necessity for a lightweight construction system for housing and classrooms in rural and isolated places where traditional construction systems cannot go—like bricks, cement, and concrete,” Woodpecker CEO Alejandro Franco told Fast Company. “Coffee husk was selected because it’s stronger and drier than the other fibers.” It’s also light enough to move to remote areas by helicopter or burro, and there’s a lot of it in Colombia, one of the world’s top coffee-producing countries.
Woodpecker produces house kits that come with a steel frame and coffee-plastic wall pieces that snap together like Legos. The company also assembles the houses, although some customers have decided to do it themselves. It takes less than a week to build a house this way. Last fall when Hurricane Iota hit an island off the coast of Colombia, Woodpecker donated two house kits, which army troops put together in five days. “The system worked perfectly considering that there was no energy supply, the soil was muddy, the airport damaged, no food, etcetera—all the problems that you can imagine,” Franco said.
The house-building material is probably not caffeinated, since it comes from the husk, not the bean. But still. Is there anything more amazing than coffee?