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RUBACON: Materials Design with a Socially Innovative Slant

Author: Paul Rayer of RUBACON
Published Date: 25 July 2011

RUBACON – Resource Utilisation for Building And CONstruction - is a Dutch initiative based on utilisation of secondary and renewable resources; the RUBACON Programme of Sustainable Development is composed of a group of ten interrelated projects, with the key project, Advanced Building Materials and Construction System, at the core. The ‘RENEW’ project for developing Biogas (alternative energy), natural fertilizer and micro-mineral powder from agricultural residues, animal dung and humanure, is one of the major ancillary projects. Other projects making up the programme include: a solar energy water harvesting system for providing people with both hot and cold water, a process for utilisation of ceramic waste to produce surface-glazed ceramic tiles sans kiln, durable sewer, water and irrigation pipe, low-cost road construction, technology for cleansing polluted waterways and coastal erosion and flood barriers.  

These projects are founded on the desire to meet local needs with local rescources, and provide solutions which can be actioned by the local workforce, whether that be comprised of engineers and builders, or mothers and children. 


  • The Utilisation of locally-available resources for affordable and durable building materials saves energy and reduces the excessive quantity of unused secondary and renewable resources
  • Construction and testing of the DEMO ‘Do-It-Yourself’ shelter/house system
  • Transfer of the technology to economically-deprived people, providing affordable, durable and fire-resistant housing
  • Setting up new ‘Incubator’ SMEs creates new work opportunities for unemployed men, women and older children
  • Transfer of the technology to SMEs for production of low-cost, advanced, building and construction materials, which possess superior properties
  • Enhancement of the life situation of people in rural communities will lessen the negative social impact caused by migration to the cities
  • Solutions to key problems such as the acute shortage of water, low-cost, alternative energy and health hazards caused by pollution
  • Promotion of the total technology to all sectors of society where it can play a vigorous and positive role

To read more on RUBACON's work, read the Programme.