How Binishells Hopes to Spark a Housing Revolution
Will peculiar looking domed homes made entirely of concrete revolutionize housing? Nicolo Bini, president and CEO of the construction technology company Binishells, certainly hopes so.
"The construction industry has to change, and buildings are so inefficient. They're not strong enough," he said. "They have to be built to be faster and more affordable and that's what we're going after and I think there's huge opportunities out there. The construction industry has been too stagnant for too long."
Binishells hopes to license construction technology to building partners around the world. At the heart of the business is green housing built of a thin concrete shell that's been described in the press as "the Flintstones meet the Jetsons." The unusual looking concrete domed homes are a serious departure from current aesthetics in housing.
Bini said the construction uses a patent-pending technology that deploys air pressure to lift and shape a reinforced concrete thin-shell dome. The advantage is it can be constructed in a matter of days, he said. Once the concrete shell dries, the dome structure is more energy-efficient than traditionally-shaped homes made of other materials.
According to the International Energy Agency, 40 percent of the world's primary energy is consumed by buildings and a major factor for that usage is the building's envelope, which is the physical interface between interior and exterior environments.
Bini said his technology has "one-third the environmental impact over their lifespan, costs half as much to build, and yet are far more durable and resistant to all matters of natural disasters."
(Read More: Q&A with Binishells CEO & President Nicolo Bini)
But the real question boils down to whether or not people want to call the concrete domes home, especially when others in the green housing space have modern design aesthetics that are less peculiar.
Prefabricated and modular building systems such as LivingHomes reduces waste and spending by using components that are manufactured and pre-assembled prior to the on-site build, while Enviroboard has developed and patented a process that converts agriculture waste into building panels.
Like Binishells, LivingHomes and Enviroboard are looking to capitalize on environmentally conscious home buyer. IBISWorld Market Researchers predict that over the three years to 2016, the industry is expected to experience outstanding growth, with revenue projected to increase at an average annual rate of about 23 percent to $245.4 billion.
Beyond housing, Bini has big dreams of Binishell airports, schools and even disaster relief that could be deployed and constructed in a matter of days. The challenge for Bini is getting builders to license and build his technology.
"From an aesthetic perspective, people like what Binishells is providing … we're partnering with international builders around the world. We've spoken to the biggest NGOs around the world. They love what we're doing and they're seeing huge potential for our systems in their markets," he said.
Bini would not disclose any specific licensing numbers, but he said the company is working on a large multi-million dollar Binishell home in Malibu for an A-list celebrity as their launch project.
Since 2009, Binishells has raised more than $350,000 from friends and family, with $900,000 already in revenue.