Because air is a poor conductor of temperature, this material actually allows the homes to have a very consistent internal temperature even in extreme hot and cold weather, offering better insulation than homes made from timber or concrete.
In addition to being extremely advantageous for temperature control, the polystyrene houses are ecologically friendly. They use very little water, which is essential in water-scarce areas like Nairobi. They are also extremely lightweight, which means less wood is needed to support the building helping reduce deforestation.
To build these homes, polystyrene panels are pressed between two pieces of steel mesh wire and sprayed with cement for support. This process allows home cost to be reduced by approximately half of what a similar brick home would cost. They can also be built in a fraction of the time (14 days for a three-bedroom house) which could help reduce housing deficits. The government constructed a manufacturing plant for producing these panels in Mlolongo. They hope to reduce the costs of the polystyrene panels even further to make properties more affordable, allowing even the most poor to acquire at least basic shelter.
Read more about this innovative idea in the Reuter’s article, Cool, cheap and green: Polystyrene homes catch on in Kenya