Project data

This is a research project in partnership between Engr308 Technology and the Environment and the barrio of La Yuca, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, during Fall 2011, to compare the benefits and costs of three different types of construction. In Summer 2011, community members from La Yuca, and students from the U.S., Japan and Dominican Republic worked with architecture group Colectivo RevARK and other local partners to construct a schoolroom from plastic bottles and concrete (a style called ecoladrillo). In Fall 2011, Engr308, started to study if ecoladrillo, papercrete or conventional block is the best choice across a few different metrics, such as cost, embedded energy, environmental impact, comfort and localness of the money.

See Arcata plastic bags/Raw info for Engr308 research from 2010 on plastic bags and Arcata plastic bags for their final product.

## C02 Emissions and Electricity in the Dominican Republic

Total CO2 emissions in Dominican Republic from different sources over time.[1]>

"An ongoing concern in the Dominican Republic is the inability of participants in the electricity sector to establish long-term financial viability for the system. The sector is divided between privately-owned electricity generators and State-owned electricity distributors. Installed generation capacity is currently adequate, but a steadily increasing demand coupled with anemic recapitalization in generation point towards a looming shortage. Indeed, baseline demand is projected to overtake installed capacity by 2014." [2]

• Electricity Grid for Dominican Republic [3]
• Electricity Companies in Santo Domoingo [4]

Team:

• Ingredients for Ecoladrillo include the following:
• Plastic bottles
• "Trash" content
• Chicken wire
• Plaster
• Concrete.
• We need to find the following for each:
• Embedded energy
• Environmental costs (to produce and to dispose)
• Economic cost (to compare to block)
• Origin (transportation)
• Content (toxins).
• This website gives some embodied energy coefficients that might be helpful[5]
Material Embodied Energy (MJ/kg) Embodied Energy (MJ/m3)
Aggregate, general 0.10 150
Aggregate, virgin rock 0.04 63
Aggregate, river 0.02 36
Concrete, block 0.94
Concrete, brick 0.97
Concrete, GRC 7.6 14820
Concrete, Paver 1.2
Concrete, pre-cast 2.0
Concrete, ready mix 17.5 MPa 1.0 2350
Concrete, ready mix 30 MPa 1.3 3180
Concrete, ready mix 40 MPa 1.6 3890
• "Embodied energy is the energy consumed by all of the processes associated with the production of a building, from the mining and processing of natural resources to manufacturing, transport and product delivery. Embodied energy does not include the operation and disposal of the building material. This would be considered in a life cycle approach. Embodied energy is the 'upstream' or 'front-end' component of the lifecycle impact of a home." [6]
• Taking this into consideration, how far "negative" is ecoladrillo?
• In other words, how much energy is saved if they are up-cycled?
• Site specific issues:
• DR's recycling program (rate of usage?)
• Does this extend to the trash used to stuff bottles?
• In the end, how much "trash" is diverted?
• [My favorite part]: If NOT used for ecoladrillo, these materials are left in the system. Consequently, what are the:
• Environmental costs (pollution)
• Social costs (health detriments)
• Economic costs (clean-up infrastructure.)
• Examples of effective sites and reasons why.
• Does DR have these same conditions?
• Can we assume that plastic bottle consumption will stay constant?
• Perhaps ecoladrillo is only efficient if used at a certain scale?
• Benefits [8]
• Usually abundant materials
• Easy to make
• Economical
• Hygienic
• Easy to transport and store.
• Reduces transportation costs
• Takes advantage of sustainable human energy.
• Saves on carbon emissions
• Acoustic and thermal insulator
• Absorbs earthquake shocks
• Locally constructed
• Replaces construction materials which are contaminating.
• Offsets environmental costs.
• This site surveys the extraction and manufacture of cement plaster. Its a good source to look at for questions we should be answering and thinking about check it out [9]

"Impact of extraction Removal of sand may have a visual impact. For river sand, removal may improve river flows and reduce sediment deposition at river mouths. Potential for damage to local ecosystems during raw material extraction. Use of energy and other resources. Embodied energy for concrete is quoted as 1.5 MJ/kg for cement plaster (based on the figure for cement mortar). There is a high level of wastage when sand is stored and mixed on-site, due to contamination of the sand. By-products/emissions Cement manufacture releases signifi cant amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Cured plaster is relatively inert (see the www,level.org.nz factsheet on paint for coating considerations).Green (uncured) plaster can be detrimental to bare metal (particularly aluminium) – a separation or protective coating must be provided to isolate the metal." [10]

#### chicken wire

• raw material is flexible galvanized wire

#### Cement plaster

• also called 'portland' cement? this includes calcium carbonate (limestone), silica and alumina (clay or sand)
• cement plaster is:
• harder and stronger than lime plaster
• low vapor permeability
• inflexible (use on flexible backgrounds such as wood or straw will leads to cracking
• extraction of raw materials and quarrying can destroy natural habitats and landscapes
• cement has the highest embedded energy compared to other renders and plasters
• Cement industry is one of the main industrial sources of NOx and CO2 emissions
• Cement plaster is non-recyclable [11]

#### Graph of Embodied Energy of Concrete

• "Embodied energy is the energy consumed by all of the processes associated with the production of a building, from the mining and processing of natural resources to manufacturing, transport and product delivery. Embodied energy does not include the operation and disposal of the building material. This would be considered in a life cycle approach. Embodied energy is the 'upstream' or 'front-end' component of the lifecycle impact of a home."[13]

• "Natural lime plaster is made from a mixture of sand, lime and other fibres like straw.
• Non hydraulic lime is better for the environment as it absorbs CO2 when exposed to air during drying.
• Hydraulic lime sets through a chemical reaction once contact is made with water.
• Natural colour without pigment is off white.
• The texture can be added to easily, from very smooth to very rough.
• A glassy finish can be created with precious stone/ceramic polishing, olive based coating and one further polish.
• Marmorino is an ancient stucco finish mixed with lime and ground marble (instead of sand).
• Marmorino finish has the appearance of sheeny and translucent stone."

This is an organizations whose work is specifically building Ecoladrillo schools in Guatemala

• Hug It Forward

"Hug It Forward is a 501c3 non-profit that empowers communities to build bottle schools. Bottle schools are schools built using soda bottles and other trash.

We have empowered communities to build 14 "bottle schools" in Guatemala - in less than 2 years." [15]

"Using plastic bottles to build schools addresses different problems with one project. The effects are so wide-ranging and stretch across different fields: it's really quite amazing! Bottle schools create win-win solutions through and through: empowering communities to come together, putting factions aside and instilling an educational future for their communities, their children and their children's children; bringing environmental consciousness to rural villages to provide solutions for their trash management problems; kids in the villages having a sense of ownership in the construction of the schools by stuffing bottles, cleaning their villages and using trash for benefit rather than it becoming an overwhelming eyesore and health risk."[16]

This is a research project in partnership between Engr308 Technology and the Environment and the barrio of La Yuca, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, during Fall 2011, to compare the benefits and costs of three different types of construction. In Summer 2011, community members from La Yuca, and students from the U.S., Japan and Dominican Republic worked with architecture group Colectivo RevARK and other local partners to construct a schoolroom from plastic bottles and concrete (a style called ecoladrillo). Now, Engr308 will look to see if ecoladrillo, papercrete or conventional block is the best choice across a few different metrics, such as cost, embedded energy, environmental impact, comfort and localness of the money.

See Arcata plastic bags/Raw info for Engr308 research from 2010 on plastic bags and Arcata plastic bags for their final product.

### Osvaldo's Responses to Ecoladrillo Questions

Note: Not all of the questions are answered and many of the answers are more vague than we would have hoped, so lets please brainstorm for better questions to ask.

#### Embodied Energy

• Q:Where did the plastic bottles, the cement and the chicken wire come from?
• A: There are many plastic bottles from the restaurants and from the community. They are manufactured in the soda distribution centers. The cement and chicken wire from local industries.
• → Perhaps we should also ask how to contact these local industries.

#### Engineering

• Q:What type of plaster did you use?
• A: Good quality local cement. I don't know its composition.
• Q:What are the proportions of materials in one "block" of ecoladrillo?
• A: This can be told to you by a student of Lonny's (it seems as though his name is Top? Maybe Tom?) who took notes. I think the best mix was approximately 40% paper, 30% cement, 25% sand, 5 % lime, which functions to protect the paper after it is dry.
• → Perhaps we should incorporate lime into our calculations?

#### Subjective observations

• Q: Have you noticed any differences since the construction of the structure? Perhaps caused by the weather?
• A: In one area, the wall which was made with the plastic bottles and chicken wire was cracked quite a bit. We think it's because we left the cuadrants of wood too separated from each other.
• Q: Have you liked it? Why or why not?
• A: We have liked it. Some people add "buts" (as in, have minor complaints) but the majority liked it. However, I think the finished touch is too rustic for an urban area and that they need to be better.
• Q: Was it worth it?
• A: Of course. Quite, quite, quite.
• Q: Does it facilitate better education for the students?
• A: Yes, it guarantees a better place to have higher level of education.
• Q: if you could change it, what would you do?
• Q: Has the community tried to duplicate the project?
• A: Not very many have. Only Alejandro Frias and a servant? Server?
• → Awkward translation of "servidor"; I'm not certain what was meant by it.
• Q:What is the general reaction from the community?
• A: These gringos are crazy, but we accept them.
• → Wonderful, no?

#### Local Services in DR

• Q: Is there a center for community recycling? Is it used frequently?
• A: Recycling has only just begun in DR so it is not common. Many people feel that recycling is elitist.
• → Fascinating social implication.
• Q: If these bottles had not been used for this project or recycled, what would have happened with them?
• A: Most of them would have ended up in the streets. They harm the sewer systems and they contaminate the community. The other portion would have gone to the dump.
• → Perhaps we should ask where this dump is or how to get in contact with them (it?).

## Conventional block

Team:

### Conventional block research

• Embedded Energy
• "Embodied energy is the energy consumed by all of the processes associated with the production of a building, from the mining and processing of natural resources to manufacturing, transport and product delivery. Embodied energy does not include the operation and disposal of the building material. This would be considered in a life cycle approach. Embodied energy is the 'upstream' or 'front-end' component of the lifecycle impact of a home."[17]
• "The embodied energy (carbon) of a building material can be taken as the total primary energy consumed (carbon released over its life cycle). This would normally include (at least) extraction, manufacturing and transportation. Ideally the boundaries would be set from the extraction of raw materials (including fuels) until the end of the products lifetime (including energy from manufacturing, transport, energy to manufacture capital equipment, heating and lighting of factory, maintenance, disposal etc.), known as 'Cradle-to-Grave'. It has become common practice to specify the embodied energy as 'Cradle-to-Gate', which includes all energy (in primary form) until the product leaves the factory gate. The final boundary condition is 'Cradle –to-Site', which includes all of the energy consumed until the product has reached the point of use (ie the building site)." [18]
• "The cement manufacturing process begins with evaluation studies and mining of raw materials (limestone and clay) required for production. As a second step, the raw material for cement manufacture is extracted from the quarries, by exploiting planned and started the process of drilling, removal, grading, loading and transportation of raw materials." [19]

### Project & Price Breakdown

Courtesy of Osvaldo

Cement:

• Where does it come from?

-Local and imported.

• How much does it cost?

-$320.00 • Is cement mined locally or imported? Where do they purchase cement? Who is the manufacturer? -Locally it is bought from a hardware store. There are four manufactures that provide the cement. They are cemex, cemento colon, cemento andino and cemento cibao. • Cement may not be as readily available, or as inexpensive as it possibly could be, due to regulations. [32](ML) Aggregate: • Where does it come from? -The rivers in the area provide the aggregate needed. • How much does it cost? -800-1000. For a column, such as in the school room: • How big is the column? -20x25 • How many labor hours does it take to make? -2 to 3 hours • Where does the aggregate come from? -Nearby rivers. • What is the labor cost for making a column? -$1500.00

Blocks:

• How much do block cost?

-6" $25.00 or 4"$23.00

• How much labor to build a room of ____ size? Or labor cost/m^2.

-2 people, 500 c/u

Materials to create a column: 2 rods 3/8x20 = $200.00 c/u 20 hoops 20x25 =$30.00 c/u 1 lb of wire = $40.00 1/2 cement cover =$165.00 1 lb. of nails 2 1/2 =$20.00 Sand and gravel =$170.00 Workforce = $500.00 Total =$1125.00

• Embedded Energy
• Australian figures show the embedded energy to be:
• Cement: 5.6 MJ/kg
• Concrete Blocks: 1.5 MJ/kg[20]
• Figures taken from greenspec
• Concrete Blocks: 0.67 MJ/kj[21]
• Step 1: "The cement manufacturing process begins with evaluation studies and mining of raw materials (limestone and clay) required for production. As a second step, the raw material for cement manufacture is extracted from the quarries. Extraction begins as planned with the process of drilling, removal, grading, loading and transportation of raw materials." -Modified from Google translate by Zane St. Martin
• Step 2: "Once removed the material is classified and starts the grinding process by reducing the size of the rock. The material is broken up to a particle size suitable for milling production." -Modified from Google translate by Zane St. Martin
• Step 3: "The crushed material is transported by belt to the yard where they are organized in horizontal layers, making an initial homogeneity of the raw materials. This material, which feeds the raw mill, is conveyed to two more silos with the right materials (iron ore and limestone corrective high) and dosed according to their characteristics by scales and other equipment using gamma rays. Then the material goes to the mill." -Modified from Google translate by Zane St. Martin
• Step 4: "The material is removed from the silos and has a maximum size of 10 cm. It is transported to a vertical mill is a turntable with two rollers, on which ground material falling on the table until the spray. The pulverized material is transported by the suction of hot gases from the furnace to the electrostatic filter material which is separated from the air and transported to the homogenization silo." -Modified from Google translate by Zane St. Martin
• Step 5: The flour silo is homogenized by air to produce the correct chemical composition that is ideal for the manufacture of clinker." -Modified from Google translate by Zane St. Martin
• Step 6: The ground material (flour) and homogenized is transported to initiate the transformation of raw materials and give rise to the clinker. In this tower which consists of several cyclones which are alternately placed one below the other, the material drops quickly and temperature rises. A stream of hot air from the cooling and combustion of coal pushes in the opposite direction." -Modified from Google translate by Zane St. Martin
• Step 7: Once it gets to the bottom of the preheater tower and attains a temperature of about 900°C, the material enters the rotary kiln to complete its transformation process reaching temperatures of approximately 1450 ° Celsius." -Modified from Google translate by Zane St. Martin
• Step 8: Upon leaving the oven the material is cooled rapidly by air, using a grid system on which you will find the material. The cold air causes the temperature to drop rapidly crystallizing the material. The clinker outlet temperature is approximately 150 ° C." -Modified from Google translate by Zane St. Martin
• Step 9: The baked clinker is stored in a covered reservoir and then taken to a press (or mill) for a premolienda roller (reduced size) and then feed the ball mill together with the cast and the addition, if it is required." -Modified from Google translate by Zane St. Martin
• Step 10: At this point in the process, determine the type of grinding cement and it is specified whether or not it added. Here they feed materials (clinker, gypsum in addition), depending on the type of cement manufacture, and determines the fineness of it. In the process of grinding and the mill, the material is driven through a classifier that separates the coarse particles to reintroduce them to the mill and the fine are transported to the cement silos." -Modified from Google translate by Zane St. Martin
• Step 11: The cement is carried by conveyor or pneumatic systems to the storage silos where it is extracted to be shipped in bags or bulk." -Modified from Google translate by Zane St. Martin
• Step 12: Packed in sleeve: is done by computers (packers) that fill the paper bags and once they complete their weight they are moved by the conveyor. Packaging Bulk silos are used directly for discharging bulk carriers on the cement." -Modified from Google translate by Zane St. Martin
• Cement Vendors in Dominican Republic

## Papercrete

Team:

### Papercrete research

• R Value = 2.8 per Inch

What is needed

• Paper
• Water
• Cement
• Molds
• Sand

Things to consider

• Climate-humidity
• drying time
• locality of materials
• what type of paper is used? - new or recycled
• Is the block better with holes or without
• Is there a more readily available suitable substitute for paper (straw, wood fiber, kenaf, wheat, barley, flax, hemp, jute and cane)

• It has high compressive strength can bear load. Papercrete will not crack like concrete does.
• It does not burn, but does smolder.
• Eliminates paper from the waste stream.
• Is very earthquake-resistant.
• Repels rodents and insects with a small amount of borax added to the mix.
• Can be scaled up. Large batches of papercrete and bricks can be made fairly easily. Large mixers can be powered by car when hooked up to the drive shaft.[3]
• Bricks can be standardized
• Is an available construction material in many places.
• Can be made to resist water more with the addition of lime.[28]

• greater amounts of cement are more applicable in rainy, humid climates.
• Must be somewhat protected from moisture. Papercrete will absorb moisture from the ground and can take a long time to dry. This encourages mold and deterioration of the wall
• Depending on the amount of cement used, may not be the most sustainable option.
• Requires a lot of paper.[29]

Recipe for papercrete: For one cubic yard mix:

• 2 cubic feet of Portland Cement
• 2/3 cubic foot of Metakaolin Pozzolan
• 12 cubic feet of perlite or plaster sand
• 125 pounds of short aspect paper fiber (newspaper)

Insert really cool chart right here!

## Community questions

This is just a start, please edit appropriately.

Also, shouldn't we incorporate the embedded energy in the roof? (not it)

### Papercrete

Mixture:

• Best mixture so far?
• Issues?
• Drying times?
• Is it an ideal method? Papercrete has high compressive strength, but has a good chance of old production as it absorbs moisture [30] (ML

Block:

• Size/dimensions.
• Hole sizes/dimensions.
• How did you make them?

Sand:

• Where do you buy the sand? (Hardware stores)
• How much does it cost? (can range from 100 to 800 pesos per cubic meters)
• Where is it extracted? (companies indiscriminately extract from the rivers and some of the mines)
• Depending on the plans for the building, how much sand will be included, as less sand will allow for easier window application.[31] (ML)

Paper:

• Where do you get the paper? (Businesses around the community can provide paper that would otherwise end up in the trash if we manage a plan with them)
• Does it cost? (free)
• How much is available? (very large amounts can be collected)

Plaster:

• Most typical type of plaster? (cement)

### Block

Cement:

• Where does it come from?
• How much does it cost?
• Is cement mined locally or imported? Where do they purchase cement? Who is the manufacturer?
• Cement may not be as readily available, or as inexpensive as it possibly could be, due to regulations.[32](ML)

Aggregate:

• Where does it come from?
• How much does it cost?

For a column, such as in the school room:

• How big is the column?
• How many labor hours does it take to make?
• What was the cement ratio?
• Where does the aggregate come from?
• What is the labor cost for making a column?

Blocks:

• How much do block cost?
• How much labor to build a room of ____ size? Or labor cost/m^2.
• What is the standard size?

Bottles:

• Did you fill the bottles with trash?
• If the bottles and trash don't go to a recycling center, where would they end up?
• Is there a recycling center for plastics? Are they recycled locally or sent to another recycling center (e.g. another country)?
• What is the most common bottle? Is there a main soda distributor for plastic bottles?

Chicken wire:

• What type of malla did you really use? (it is not chicken wire)
• Is the chicken wire imported?
• Do you know where it is produced? What is the name of the company?
• How much does it cost per area?

Plaster:

• How thick was the cement plaster used on the walls?
• What was the ratio of cement?
• Have you noticed any changes in the structure?
• What do you like/not like about the construction?
• Do you think it was worth it? Would you recommend this process?
• In what ways did it affect the community or the education brought to the students? Awareness?
• If you could change the design, what would you do?
• How is the thermal comfort?
• How is it holding up?
• Has anyone tried to duplicate the process? Any other community interest? General community reaction?
• How was it finished/painted? Did you paint or use other materials for esthetic appeal?

## References

1. http://web.archive.org/web/20170507024443/http://cdiac.ornl.gov/trends/emis/dmr.html - C02 Emissions in the Dominican Republic
2. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/35639.htm - This site explains Dominican Republic's energy
3. http://web.archive.org/web/20130620144952/http://www.iea.org/stats/electricitydata.asp?COUNTRY_CODE=DO - Electricity Grid for Dominican Republic
4. http://www.dexknows.com/local/energy_and_environment/utility_services/geo/c-santo_domingo_pueblo-nm/att/electricity/ - Electricity Companies in Santo Domoingo
5. This website gives some embodied energy coefficients that might be helpful
6. Here you can find some good guidelines in how to assess and look at embodied energy and the embodied energy of some common building materials are given
7. http://www.victoria.ac.nz/cbpr/documents/pdfs/ee-coefficients.pdf - This website gives some embodied energy coefficients that might be helpful
8. (As taken from this [1] and this [2] website.)
9. http://www.level.org.nz/fileadmin/downloads/Materials/LevelMCBPlaster.pdf - *This site surveys the extraction and manufacture of cement plaster. Its a good source to look at for questions we should be answering and thinking about check it out
10. [This site surveys the extraction and manufacture of cement plaster. Its a good source to look at for questions we should be answering and thinking about check it out http://www.level.org.nz/fileadmin/downloads/Materials/LevelMCBPlaster.pdf]
11. www.greenspec.co.uk/plaster-and-render.php
12. Here using graphs, it is shown the concrete actually has a low embodied energy, but is one of the most used materials, and therefore has very high emissions http://www.tececo.com/sustainability.embodied_energy.php - *Here using graphs, it is shown the concrete actually has a low embodied energy, but is one of the most used materials, and therefore has very high emissions
13. http://web.archive.org/web/20140126040057/http://www.yourhome.gov.au/technical/fs52.html - This shows figures for Australian made materials
14. http://www.holistic-interior-designs.com/natural-lime-plaster.html - *This is a good source for learning about natural lime plaster. The humidity of the DR might hinder the durability of the plaster"
15. http://hugitforward.org/ - This is an organization whose work is specifically building Ecoladrillo schools in Guatemala
16. http://web.archive.org/web/20111231122159/http://bottleschools.com:80/wiki/Why_build_a_bottle_school%3F
17. http://web.archive.org/web/20140126040057/http://www.yourhome.gov.au/technical/fs52.html - This shows figures for Australian made materials
18. http://www.greenspec.co.uk/embodied-energy.php - This shows more figures for the embedded energy in conventional block
19. This is the process that a cement manufacturing plant in the Dominican Republic uses
20. http://web.archive.org/web/20140126040057/http://www.yourhome.gov.au/technical/fs52.html - Embedded energy of Australian made cement and concrete
21. http://www.greenspec.co.uk/embodied-energy.php - Embedded energy for multiple types of building materials
22. This is the process that a cement manufacturing plant in the Dominican Republic uses
24. http://cementoscibao.com/
25. http://web.archive.org/web/20130430140818/http://www.argos.co/site/Default.aspx
28. https://www.appropedia.org/La_Yuca_appropriate_building#Papercrete
29. https://www.appropedia.org/La_Yuca_appropriate_building#Papercrete
30. https://www.appropedia.org/La_Yuca_appropriate_building#Papercrete
31. http://www.livinginpaper.com/mixes.htm#papercrete
32. http://web.archive.org/web/20180312113907/http://www.dominicantoday.com:80/dr/local/2011/5/19/39601/Price-stokes-Jamaica-Dominican-Republic-cement-row-importer-says

## More questions

• Ratios of the best papercrete mix you found so far.
• Where is the aggregate imported from.
• Percentage imported.
• What store does the wood and chicken wire come from?
• How far is this from La Yuca in kms?
• Do you know where the store got it? (Imported?)
• If not, can we have the contact information of the store?
• How far is the local dump from La Yuca in kms?
• If unknown, how can we get in contact with it?
• What kind of truck do they use to take material to the dump?
• Gas or Diesel?
• Make/model?
• MPG?
• Appx how many people work at the dump?
• Ave salary?
• Did the cement come in bags or in a truckload? (which medium)
Page data
Part of Engr308 Technology and the Environment Project ecoladrillos, sustainable building, green construction, housing, papercrete SDG11 Sustainable cities and communities Mike Despars, Ashley Ward, Lonny Grafman, Alexandra McGee, Hoon Peerless, Elena Flores, Zane St. Martin, Michael Lord 2011 CC-BY-SA-4.0 Cal Poly Humboldt 2,123 Lists nested too deep Mike Despars, Ashley Ward, Lonny Grafman, Alexandra McGee, Hoon Peerless, Elena Flores, Zane St. Martin, Michael Lord (2011). "Dominican Republic alternative building analysis". Appropedia. Retrieved August 9, 2022.
Cookies help us deliver our services. By using our services, you agree to our use of cookies.