The world is currently affected by climatic changes. The changes, apparently affect every part of human lives, including the homes that people build and reside. Hence there is the need to carefully study and select smart building materials that could withstand the changing climate.
Thatches, timbers, concrete blocks or cement and adobe bricks are no longer the only materials that can be used to build homes. New building projects, materials and technology have emerged.
Polystyrene can be used to build environmentally-friendly homes for low-income families that are residing in squalor settlements in urban areas. With a proper building design, Polystyrene is an energy-efficient and climate-friendly building material.
Indeed, Polystyrene wall filler is very thermally efficient, and once its old structure is demolished, it can be recycled (Vincent, 2012:1). It provides permanent insulation not only in walls but also in roofs and floors. The design of low-cost smart homes using Polystyrene can effectively reduce and save governments and people the cost of building mass housing units by forty (40) percent than building them with conventional construction materials such as concrete, cement and sand (Jibo, 2013). The design of Polystyrene with wire-mesh and sprayed with concrete provides quite a light structure that tolerates a lot of stress. The tolerant characteristic of Polystyrene makes it green and environmentally-friendly building material. However, some experts are critically opposed to the use of Polystyrene in buildings i.e. a sandwich of Polystyrene and concrete can hardly be called green. They opined that a significant problem with Polystyrene insulation, found almost universally in structural insulated panels (SIPs) and insulated concrete forms (ICFs) are full of the toxic fire retardant hexabromocyclododecane or HBDC (Alex, 2010; Lloyd et al, 2010).
In any case, ICFs are green and they save energy. A combination of ICFs and alternative nonfossil fuel-based substance(s) like rigid mineral wool and polyurethane, which does not contain toxic chemicals, would be perfect for building massive housing units for low-income families in cities and villages across the globe.
This picture is a simple bungalow home that is built with Polystyrene, which can comfortably be produced en masse to accommodate a plethora of urban and rural low-income families.