JD Composites Inc., a Canadian startup company, is constructing a concept house using PET foam made from more than 500,000 recycled plastic bottles.
The project is the first of its kind in the country and is designed for areas prone to natural disasters.
The Metaghan, Nova Scotia-based business received a six-year, no-interest loan of $109,690 from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) to cover some of the costs of developing eco-friendly composite housing that can withstand extreme weather like hurricanes, flooding and other catastrophes.
JD Composites formed the PET foam into panels that make up the exterior shell of the dwelling, JD Composites Vice President Joel German told Plastics News in an email.
"They use recycled pop bottles chopped up then extruded to create the panels," German said, adding that the number of bottles used per panel can vary depending on the foam density needed.
PET foam houses are made of green materials, can be quickly assembled and built and have high R-values for energy efficiency, German said. He referred to the house under construction as Prototype 1.
"It's completely new technology," he said.
The house will be finished with traditional materials, such as drywall, and then subjected to tests related to thermal sustainability and resistance to moisture absorption, fatigue, corrosion and rot. If the prototype passes all tests, JD Composites eventually plans to export the sustainable housing materials to the United States and the Caribbean, particularly Guyana and St. Lucia.
German said JD officials are "hoping we land development contracts for small, simple homes in high-wind areas." International relief homes would take less than a week to build with a team of 10 workers.
In Canada, the project supports commitments made by the government and the four Atlantic Provinces to drive economic growth through investments that help the region compete in a low-carbon, low-pollution and resource-efficient economy, according to ACOA Minister Navdeep Bains.
"The export potential for start-up companies carving their place in the economy by using clean technologies to create innovative solutions is enormous," Bains said in a news release. "Our government recognizes the opportunities that clean technologies bring to regional economic growth and the importance of capturing a share of this global market, which is why we are investing in this project with JD Composites."
The startup company's plan diverts waste from landfills and creates jobs. Initially, five to 10 full-time positions have been created but another 20-25 jobs may need to be filled by 2020.
Nova Scotia is increasing its profile as a leader in clean solutions, according to Colin Fraser, a member of Parliament for West Nova.
"This project with JD Composites will create jobs in a rural Nova Scotia community, while reducing the global impact on the environment by creating clean, sustainable housing solutions using repurposed recycled materials," Fraser said in the release.
JD Composites registered as a limited company in March 2018 and joined the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business. Company officials have backgrounds in the seafood and boat building sectors.
"We've seen our ocean and beaches heavily polluted," German said. "Now, with this new process for building homes, we're not only offering an affordable and sustainable solution to green homes, [but also] we feel as though we're finally doing our small part to help clean up some of the mess."