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From agriculture to architecture: houses are made with rice. The project of the Ricehouse startup

“Fifteen years ago my partner and I, who is also my partner, moved to Biella and we found ourselves living in the middle of the rice fields. We have noticed how much waste remained on the fields, destined to be burned, because not suitable for breeding, as it happens for other crops. Since the straw of other cereals was already used in architecture, I said to myself: why not try also that of rice? So I started using it in my building sites as an insulator “.

Tiziana Monterisi, a 43-year-old architect from Lecco, tells how two years ago she decided to kick off the startup Ricehouse , officially presented last January in Klimahouse , where she arrived among the 10 finalists of Klimahouse Startup Award , a competition created to boost to green innovations among young entrepreneurs, and received the special innovative startup award from the CasaClima agency. The idea is to promote the exploitation of rice crop residues and to support the use of straw, husk and chaff as building materials.

“I have always been interested in architecture in favor of man, I see the house as our third skin. As we pay attention to the clothes we wear, the same must be done with the materials of the environments in which we live “.

What does Ricehouse do?

Ricehouse stands as the central hub of the supply chain that goes from agriculture to architecture. The startup manages the coordination of the production of raw materials, from logistics to storage, in order to ensure a continuous supply, follows the production, carried out in partnership with companies in the sector, deals with the promotion and marketing in the construction world sustainable. Four, in particular, the products conceived by Ricehouse: from the frame made of wood and rice straw to special plasters, mortars and screeds that find in the rice processing waste one of their main components.

“Since January 2018 they have all been offered for sale and can be bought by anyone, by contacting us. Before I used them and experimented on building sites, so a customer had to “trust” me. Now, however, I have had all the tests and certifications necessary to prove the technical and acoustic insulating characteristics. All important values ​​for companies, professionals who prepare the specifications, customers who are attentive to high energy efficiency “, explains Tiziana Monterisi.

Thanks to the mixture of lime, husk and straw, the Ricehouse products are very light, highly thermal, completely natural, breathable and healthy. They are also distinguished by their ease of installation, very similar to that of cement. They are suitable for all types of intervention and construction : from restorations, because they contain natural lime, to renovations, where they can be placed side by side with pre-existing brick or reinforced concrete, new buildings, perhaps in wood or bio materials. As a UD House, awarded in the residential renovation / restoration category as a 2017 green building for the 2017 sustainability award by the AESS Agency in Modena: a zero-energy house with a very low environmental impact, signed by architect Monterisi a Chamois, in Val d’Aosta, 1,816 meters high. Born on the ruins of an old ruin from 1834, the building, thanks to the insulating properties of the rice straw inserted in the frame, does not need heating or a conditioning system, because it maintains a mild and comfortable temperature inside. Humidity, on the other hand, is regulated in a natural way by internal plasters, made of raw earth, and by natural ventilation.

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