Prototype – Update

NewWood's Panel

It’s been just over six months since my last post. You may have been wondering what has happened. You may even have thought we’d given up or gone away. Not so. We’ve been continuing our research into materials and methods, hoping to get a prototype underway.

The biggest challenge has been the exterior skin of the home. Virtually all of the other components we think we have at least a good starting point. We understand there will be some tweaks and adjustments as we refine the home from the prototype, but the skin has had us kind of spinning our wheels.

To find a product that meets the triple bottom line of environment, equity and economy has been difficult, at best. Wood products can be locally-sourced where we are located (Pacific Northwest), but durability, specifically from humidity and insects, is an issue without chemical treatment. We found one product, a nylon panel made from excess carpet fiber waste. It is very lightweight, appears to be extremely durable, but the cost was prohibitive.

Now, we think we might be on to something. Preston Koerner, from JetsonGreen highlighted a product called NewWood. It’s 50% recycled plastic and 50% recycled wood. And it’s manufactured ┬ájust 250 miles from our location. The company is just coming on line. AND, to top it off (this is where it gets really interesting for me), their manufacturing facility is recycling a moth-balled never-brought-on-line nuclear power plant. Now how appropriate is that?

So, we’re checking it out and praying the panels aren’t $100 a sheet…

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