The terrible impact of Hurricane Sandy on the Northeast region has exposed the need for more durable and dynamic sources of emergency housing for those affected by a natural disaster. In a bid to help alleviate future situations, an associate professor from the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), along with several other engineers at the college, have created a roofing design that relies primarily on recycled water and soda bottles.
According to green living news source Triple Pundit, Jason Van Nest of NYIT's School of Architecture and Design created the SodaBIB system in order to enable disaster responders to set up housing arrangements quickly and affordably. The name is a shortened version of "Soda bottle interface bracket," meaning that the design is meant to be attached to an existing four-wall structure. He told the source in an interview that the durability of common plastic bottles was what convinced him that it was the right building material to use.
Polyethylene terephthalate, a chemical found often in plastic bottles, is resistant against leakages, making it an ideal resource for roof-making. Furthermore, because of the many years required for plastic bottles to break down naturally, Van Nest argues that it's important to come up with alternatives to simply letting them sit in an landfill.
In another move aimed at making the project entirely about recycling, the design also incorporates converted pallets that are used to transport water bottles. The plan calls for them to act as a framework for the bottles.
Currently, Van Nest and his team are raising money via Kickstarter in order to fund a prototype. While it may be some time before we see the SodaBIB in action, the fact that engineers are considering how to best serve those affected by the next big storm is a good sign.