Block Solutions: a Sustainable and Affordable Way of Building Houses

ISC3 Start-up of the Month: July 2023

20.07.2023 - Block Solutions is a Tampere, Finland-based company that has developed environmentally friendly block-modules made of recycled plastics or in combination with local excess raw materials.

The blocks developed by the start-up are used for building sustainable, affordable and safe homes for people all around the world. Beyond making sustainable building blocks the company also focuses on creating jobs and enforcing gender equality with their business model. For this reason, International Sustainable Chemistry Collaborative Centre (ISC3) features Block Solutions as the ISC3 Start-up of the Month for July 2023.

What makes Block Solutions‘ innovation unique? The carbon footprint of the product is close to zero: dependent on the location of the material used, it can be an ecological biocomposite, which can contain up to 50% organic fibers and 50% recycled plastics or, alternatively, only recycled plastics. This is based on the availability of excess raw materials on the local level.

Block Solutions is investigating what different kinds and amounts of excess fibres are available in a specific market and adapts their “recipe” for the composite material. Accordingly, the Finnish start-up uses coconut husk, rice husk, bamboo or sugarcane in their blocks. In addition, the start-up also focuses on engaging the local community to create a suitable solution. The modularly built houses are affordable, durable and can be set up quickly with just a few tools. They can also be dismantled and rebuilt.

The whole success story of the ISC3 Start-up of the Month in July 2023 is currently told by the ISC3 on its website.

Four questions for Block Solutions’ founder Markus Silfverberg:

What led to your solution in sustainable chemistry?

Markus Silfverberg: Our product was initially developed for the United Nations (UN) as a crisis management solution for building shelters, hospitals, mortuaries and so on. Later, we realized that our product is not just for the crisis management, but is suitable for many other applications, like building houses, schools, etc. In addition, our solution tackles the plastic waste challenges around the world. Plastic is a very good product - if it's discarded properly, recycled properly. But we should never think of plastics as a single use product. It is a good but mismanaged product. In areas where there are currently insufficient recycling possibilities, teaching people how and why to recycle would already have a positive impact.

What does being chosen as ISC3 Start-up of the Month mean to you?

M. Silfverberg: Of course, we are very humbled by the opportunity to have our solution so widely recognized by ISC3. This will of course give us the opportunity to tell more about how we are solving some major humanitarian and environmental issues to the wide public. All publicity is more than welcome!

How much plastic waste and / or the other raw materials do you need for one block or one house? Do you have an example like that?

M. Silfverberg: For a normal 30 m2 UN-specified house about two tons of recycled materials are necessary for the production, which means that we can reduce about 18 tons of CO2-emissions compared with conventional construction methods.

What’s next up at Block Solutions?

M. Silfverberg: We aim to set up regional hubs, as we want to reduce our own carbon footprint related to frequent business trips by plane and also to give more business opportunities to locals. We have one hub coming up in Singapore for Asia, one in Riyadh for the MENA region, one in Kigali for Africa, and one in Denver for North America.



International Sustainable Chemistry Collaborative Centre ISC3

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