Globally, 1.6 billion people lack access to adequate shelter; in India alone, there are more than
350 million people. A roof over your head is one of the most basic human necessities, but
current roofing materials available to ultra-poor populations are expensive, hot, fragile, and can
contain toxic elements such as asbestos. Studies show that as much as 20% of the building’s
heat gain occurs through the roof. With summer temperatures exceeding 104°F in most of
India’s cities, access to cooler dwellings is a matter of survival.
Eco-Shelter set out on a mission to identify underutilized technologies, processes, and materials
that could be leveraged to meet the enormous roofing challenge. The Eco-Shelter pilot project
will examine social acceptance, environmental impact, and market feasibility of introducing a
new, safe, and affordable roofing material to low-income households in India. We are piloting a
new bamboo composite material that is strong, light-weight, and durable (25+ year lifespan),
and can keep homes 12°F cooler.
Our pilot project is a critical step on the path to positively affect millions of people. The project
will inform critical decisions in our research and development phase by allowing us to build 25
additional homes and demonstration projects for families and communities in need, gaining
valuable user insights. The project will also allow us to survey hundreds of households across
India to inform a future target product price-point for mass adoption.