Ghonsla Insulation Panels

Exhibition: Cities | October 11, 2011 by

Corrugated-metal roofs are ubiquitous—it is estimated that close to a billion people today live under them in urban informal settlements and disaster-affected areas. The poor thermal performance of the corrugated metal, however, makes dwellings unbearably hot in the summer and deafeningly loud during rainstorms. In winter, homes become incredibly difficult and expensive to heat, leading to overconsumption of fuel resources and increased indoor air pollution. Ghonsla’s low-cost panels, developed in Lahore, Pakistan, in partnership with Pakistani packaging manufacturer Packages, are designed for installation under existing corrugated-metal roofs to improve insulation performance. Ghonsla (“nest” in Urdu) panels feature core insulation made from straw and sludge from the paper industry blended with water, which is pressed in a mold, dried in the sun, and finally smoothed in a heat press before the surface finish is applied. The resulting panels are durable, lightweight, and easy to install. Made from local renewable and waste materials, the panels reduce heating costs by 30% and decrease indoor air pollution, resulting in healthier indoor environments. In summer, the panels can also lower indoor temperature by more than 10° Celsius (18° Fahrenheit), important in a region that sees temperatures up to 45° Celsius (113° Fahrenheit).

Ghonsla is creating jobs by building capacity for distribution and installation in local communities, and plans to establish decentralized production and support entrepreneurs, with the aim to reach scale in the Pakistani market. Interest in the insulation panels has come from other countries with corrugated-metal dwellings and similar climates, including India, Afghanistan, and Peru.

Designers: Zehra Ali, Monica Hau Le, Emmanuel Arnaund, Mubarik Imam, and Katelyn Donelly, Ghonsla; manufacturer: Packages. Collaborators: Bheri Village community, World Wide Fund for Nature–Pakistan, UN-Habitat. Lahore, Pakistan, 2008–present. Straw, paper sludge (byproduct of paper and board manufacturing), paper liner, paint, plaster, embossed PVC sheets or jute


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