EverBlock is a modular system of full-scale plastic blocks that, like Lego, interconnect without fasteners or special tools. But these playful widgets aren’t toys. They are a functional, full-scale building system that can be used to create furniture, walls and entire rooms. Green Prophet caught up with company founder and president Arnon Rosan to find out how more. his product responds to environmental issues in the Middle East.
This isn’t just a concept. Rosan started the company in January this year and began shipping blocks two months later. The polypropylene blocks – available in 13 different colors – are available for purchase now through the EverBlock website. As with Lego, different brick three sizes: full (one foot long), half (six inches), and quarter (three inches), and vary in weight from two pounds (full size) to a quarter pound.
Stack the bricks with staggered joint lines for stability; each block has at least one integral channel that enables user to embed additional reinforcing dowels, power cables, and LED light strips in their designs. This versatility makes the blocks ideal for shelving and work stations in university dormitories, and as room dividers in post-college apartments where people often share and divide space to save on rent.
Green Prophet: The blocks are clearly colorful, but how “green” are they?
Arnon Rosan: The blocks are not biodegradable per se but they are recyclable. (Polypropylene is recyclable and has the number “5” as its resin identification code.) Additionally, they can be made from fully recycled material. That said, the really green aspect of the blocks is that they can continue to be re-purposed again and again for various needs, reconfigured as needs change, and shipped compactly to other locations.
GP: You state that the blocks “can be made of recyclable material”…please elaborate?
AR: We now manufacture using virgin (or new) material because it’s often difficult to get a good color match with recycled material. We do make our black blocks using between 50-80% recycled material, depending on the specific run. For more industrial or relief purposes, where a precise color match is not as important we can make recycled blocks right away. Over time we expect to perfect colors in recycled materials and may offer a separate line of recycled blocks.
GP: Can they be used in exterior applications (emergency shelter in dry desert climates, as example)?
AR: We see usage as emergency shelters and housing in the desert as a fantastic application for the blocks and a way to adapt to changing needs of refugee communities. You could drop two pallets of these by helicopter and the next thing you know you have a solid, rigid structure.
As a fully expandable and movable building system, entire areas of a project can be relocated, remodeled and changed as needs change. When the relief operation is over, the blocks can be sent to another site or stored for future use.
GP: How do the blocks allow for integration with building systems (power, communications, HVAC)?
AR: You can run wiring inside the blocks and inside walls. Likewise for communications cabling and even LED lighting to illuminate structures. All the blocks stagger such that the cable channels line up to allow continuous runs of electrical/wiring.
GP: The EverBlock website features a small building made from the units. Do you offer securable doors and windows?
AR: The doors and windows are sized for standard replacement windows which can be screwed directly to the blocks using the nailing strip that comes with such windows. It is also possible to simply cover window openings with burlap or other fabrics, or to install simple “U” channels that allow sliding Plexiglas windows to be installed.
GP: How do EverBlock walls stack up in terms of security and fire-resistance?
AR: We haven’t done specific testing on security but I can tell you that when blocks are staggered and reinforcement rods are installed it would be incredibly difficult to enter or cut one’s way into such a structure. The blocks all meet the UL94HB slow burn fire standard.
EverBlock’s website features a virtual builder tool that enables users to create designs and decide how many bricks they’ll need. The company is compiling a library of instructions guiding people through some designs.
Rosan sees “green” as being very much about minimizing resource usage, damage to the environment, and negative site impacts, adding, “I can think of no other system that allows one product to be re-used for so many applications.”
Images from EverBlock