Coconut is a very versatile tree species. Coconut meat is dried to make copra, its oil is extracted for a wide range of purposes and its juice is used to make piña colada. Now, coconut is again making an appearance as possible roofing material. Some students and professors from the Institute of Technology of Colima (Itec) grouped together to develop a roofing material out of coconut husk.
During the first phase of the project, the team replaced the traditional fiberglass with coconut fiber that was mixed with polyester resin to bind all the elements. However, the end result did not provide the expected results so that the team tried the coir, the fiber in the outer part of the coconut’s husk. According to Professor Ricardo Moreno Peña, they were motivated with the need to create a sustainable product particularly since coconut husk is usually discarded or burned as trash. Besides that, coconut husks are widely available throughout the state.
Based on the early tests, the uniquely shaped sheets of roofing are strong and durable enough but more testing is required to determine whether its structural tolerance can be used for buildings. If the product becomes feasible, it will be something that people can make by themselves.
The team hopes that their project will be a safe self-assembly for people who with their own hands can easily produce the sheet roofing. The coconut roofing will be an ideal option to provide shelter from the different elements. However, the team hopes that in the future, they will be able to add a thermal resistance element to the design.
Improving the product will be the next phase of the project after the technical feasibility and resilience of the roofing sheets have been properly tested. The sheets are unique because they are composed of pyramid-like structures that distributes load throughout the sheets.
The main objective in the use of roof insulation is energy efficiency although it also enhances the comfort of the family. There are various roof insulation types because different parts of the country have different temperatures. Even those parts of the country that do not experience temperature fluctuations can benefit from proper roof insulation.