Architecture

ModRoof promises a safer shelter for low-income families

ModRoof promises a safer shelt...
The roofs have a rated lifespan of over 20 years, with only minimal maintenance required
The roofs have a rated lifespan of over 20 years, with only minimal maintenance required
View 5 Images
Metal and concrete corrugated roofs are an ubiquitous feature on homes worldwide due to their low-cost, but they're really not very good at their job
1/5
Metal and concrete corrugated roofs are an ubiquitous feature on homes worldwide due to their low-cost, but they're really not very good at their job
ModRoof's panels are manufactured in Ahmedabad, India, from locally-sourced recycled agricultural and packaging waste like cardboard and coconut fibers
2/5
ModRoof's panels are manufactured in Ahmedabad, India, from locally-sourced recycled agricultural and packaging waste like cardboard and coconut fibers
The firm is also working on a prototype roof panel which features integrated solar cells, thus allowing the occupant to power LED lights or charge cell phones
3/5
The firm is also working on a prototype roof panel which features integrated solar cells, thus allowing the occupant to power LED lights or charge cell phones
The roofs have a rated lifespan of over 20 years, with only minimal maintenance required
4/5
The roofs have a rated lifespan of over 20 years, with only minimal maintenance required
There's certainly a large potential market for ModRoof, but the trick will be getting it into the hands of those low-income families who need it most
5/5
There's certainly a large potential market for ModRoof, but the trick will be getting it into the hands of those low-income families who need it most

Metal and concrete corrugated roofs are a ubiquitous feature on homes and shelters worldwide due to their low-cost, but they're really not very good at their job. Both are poor insulators, notoriously prone to leaks and can contain dangerous substances like asbestos ... plus they're not easy to sleep under during a monsoonal downpour. Indian startup ReMaterials reckons it has a better solution with its sustainable, modular roofing system called ModRoof.

ModRoof's panels are manufactured in Ahmedabad, India, from locally-sourced recycled agricultural and packaging waste like cardboard and coconut fibers.

"The manufacturing process is simple: It has a crushing stage, then a mixing stage, then a compression stage, drying stage and waterproofing stage," ReMaterials boss Hasit Ganatra, who works alongside engineering expert Lisa von Rabenau and 9 local staff in India, told Gizmag.

The panels are waterproof, fire-resistant, and quiet when it rains. They are designed to interlock and before having a sealant applied. They have a calculated R-Value of 0.28 Km2/W, Ganatra told us. In practical tests on a hot summer day, this has shown the interior of a house outfitted with a metal roof to have a temperature of 42 °C (107.6 °F), while a comparable ModRoof-equipped home was 36 °C (96 °F).

The firm is also working on a prototype roof panel which features integrated solar cells, thus allowing the occupant to power LED lights or charge cell phones
The firm is also working on a prototype roof panel which features integrated solar cells, thus allowing the occupant to power LED lights or charge cell phones

There's certainly a large potential market for ModRoof, but the trick will be getting it into the hands of those low-income families who need it most. On this note, ReMaterials has partnered with micro finance firms to enable customers to afford the roofs (which would typically take at least two years to pay off).

While the firm didn't give us a price of the roofs, they say that they work out at around 4 to 7 times cheaper than solid concrete roofing (not to be confused with the cheaper corrugated type). ModRoof has a rated lifespan of over 20 years, with only minimal maintenance required.

Plans for the near-future include a prototype roof panel which features integrated solar cells, thus allowing the occupant to power LED lights or charge cell phones, and expanding the business both throughout India and internationally.

Source: ReMaterials

5 comments
Leif Knutsen
How about some solar capacity built into some of the roof with with batteries included.Now you have supplied a method of cash flow to the third world folks. They could charge cell phones for others, have evening light for crafts or education. The list is long. You don't just sell a debt but a method of self improvement.
flylowguy
Similarly, compressed earth block onsite portable machines can make roof tiles with earth, low grade cement powder additives or asphalt emulsion. Using site-obtained materials in an onsite operation cuts the transportation costs to a very low level. The weight is high, however, necessitating larger carriers for the load.
telocity
Sneaky wording in this article. He lumps metal roof with concrete and other roofing, then mentions dangerous materials, making it seem the metal roofs contain dangerous materials. They don't. They last at least 50 yrs and is apparently cheaper than their material. It's hot and loud when it rains, true. Easy fix, add solid insulation underneath like Styrofoam. Built a garage that way, 1" sheet foam, then metal over it with small spacers in between to let heat out. Its stays cooler than his house. Same thing for tool/workshop I made for my Dad. Insulation + metal roof = cool extremely durable low maintenance roof.
Don Duncan
Both telocity and flylowguy have better alternatives to this new roof. Just use a foil backed poly-iso foam and go as thick as you need to for comfort/efficiency. Compressed/rammed, stabilized earth lasts forever. There are earth buildings 2000 years old. Or ceramic tiles for a lighter touch requiring less insulation/support than earthen. Or coat the metal roof with that new glass paint, requiring less foam. All of these materials are not just fire resistant, but fireproof.
Kristianna Thomas
Homelessness is a world wide phenomenon(wwp)and there seems to be a lot of people who have come up with what they think is a solution. Todays solution is a modular roof system that can house the homeless for, at least, twenty years. These flashes of brilliance is only overshadowed by the brilliant glow of the sun. The way these modular roof system looks; they could be the building blocks for new and improved shanti towns of the future. Why in the world would homeless people want permanent homes (apartments) when they could be living the lap of luxury in their own rooftop slum; minus the slum lord. Furthermore, by getting homeless people to reside on roofs; they are not an eyesore on the streets. Out of sight;out of mind