Finnish building blocks will be used as a solution for affordable housing and emergency accommodation in West Africa
The agreement on the production of green building blocks in Benin will be signed this week in Finland
Block Solutions concept, developed in Finland, is a low-cost, quick and environmentally friendly building solution that meets the requirements for affordable and emergency housing in developing countries in Africa. The concept enables the building of temporary shelters as well as permanent housing. The company’s innovative “blocks” are almost carbon neutral – the building blocks are made of biocomposites, wood fiber and recycled plastic, through injection molding. The frame for a 25 square meter house can be built for about EUR 5,000 in just a few hours and with a few tools.
At the beginning of October, a business delegation including the Energy Minister of Benin, West Africa will visit Finland, with the aim for mr Robert Adjalla to become the founder of the world’s first block production factory in the Africa. The purpose of the visit is to get acquainted with the manufacturing technology and materials of the blocks and sign an agreement on the start of production.
- “Production facility in Cotonou already exists, but Block solutions will supply injection molding machines and full scale of injection moulds to Cotonou. Production is scheduled to begin early next year”, says Business Director, Block Solutions, Markus Silfverberg.
According to UN estimates, over 600 million people in Africa will require affordable housing over the next five years. In addition, emergency housing is constantly required throughout the world. According to the UN’s request, Silfverberg and his team continued to develop a product that could solve this problem. The product development has almost all been self-funded.
- “The potential of this product is so great that we believe that it is worth the investment”,
Silfverberg has extensive experience in the plastics industry, including as European Sales Director for Pipelife and Managing Director of Talokaivo Oy.
Since the beginning of Block Solutions, it was clear that we should be environmentally focused on the product. That is why we wanted the material to be environmentally friendly and 100% recyclable. When implementing a business idea in practice, carbon neutrality is taken seriously: Blocks plants operate locally on a franchise basis to minimize carbon dioxide emissions during transportation. At the same time, plants create new jobs and well-being. Business concept also includes that at least half of the company employees should be women with equal pay.
Also, the final product will help to build a better world: a small house priced a few thousand euros can be built by everyone safe and secure – unlike homes made of clay, hay or tin.
- “By providing the opportunity for a better quality of life at the local level, we may help people to thrive at the safety of their own homes”- says Silfverberg.
- “And when you want to change your place of residence, you can dismantle it and take it with you – it will not lose its value. Recyclable blocks can last up to 100 years”- says Silfverberg.
Block Solutions has already received international recognition, including at this fall’s Responsible Innovation Summit Business Spirit Award , where Block Solutions has entered the final.
Earlier this year, a group of Kenyan architecture students scored high points due to their Blocks-based design in the competition in the search of affordable construction methods. Blocks Solutions is also participating in ISC3 Chemical Innovations Challenge.
Business Development Director
The Benin delegation will visit Finland from 2-6 October 2019. The visit is organized by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland, Finnpartnership, Business Finland and Block Solutions Oy. In particular, the Minister of Energy of Benin will be present during the visit. The group will visit the Wiitta Tuote Oy manufacturing facilities in Heinola, where they in practice get acquainted with the block production method. At the Ylöjärvi Showroom, the group explores a block house. Guests can also try the self-construction.