By Tiziana Monterisi – RiceHouse CEO
RiceHouse is a start-up born in 2016 that tackles the problem related to the construction building sector, that in EU is responsible for 40% of energy consumption, 36% of CO2 emissions and it generates 1/3 of all waste. The problem is widely acknowledged, and EU is setting clear guidelines for a resource-efficient and sustainable circular economy, with the vision of a decarbonised building stock by 2050. In addition, the UN SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) objectives for 2030 are focusing on sustainable cities, responsible consumption, renewable energy and action on climate change.
The company produces 100% natural building materials and finishing’s, that derive from by-products from rice cultivation and production. RiceHouse uses raw products such as rice straw, husk and bran, introduces them into the construction cycle and at the end of their service life they return in a circular way to the natural cycle. RiceHouse in an innovative way coordinates and controls a short supply chain, creating new economics from the field to the construction site. The company strongly believes that turning organic waste into a source of value is a key feature of the circular economy and from several years promotes the use of rice by-products from short supply chain. All products developed from the company are highly efficient in terms of energy, 100% natural, formaldeide free and made in Italy.
Sustainable and green construction trend is growing fast with a prediction to increase 12% by 2026, with a total value of 254 b€ (50% in Europe). It clearly emerges that the value proposition of Ricehouse has all the features to satisfy the needs of the future demand: it proposes an offer in an economic sector in a phase of change that is based on values already incorporated and shared in different sectors (Food and Automotive sectors are benchmarks). There is therefore a general awareness on the part of the reference target already rooted in transversal principles and needs that have created consolidated macrotrends: environmental and economic sustainability and health and well-being.
RiceHouse is the focal point between farmers, industrial partners and commercial ones involved in the building sector and through quality protocols, certifications and patents coordinates the creation of innovative building materials that derive from the nature and at the end of their service life return to the nature. Valorising the by-products from the rice cultivation, the company creates new economics and bases its revenue both on the sale of raw materials (as rice straw and rice husk) and both on the building materials (screeds, plasters, etc).
Ricehouse follows a model of continuous research, development and testing of new products to be marketed. Currently offers the following solutions:
o Raw materials: straw, husk and bran
o “Humid” bio-compound products: thermo-plasters, lightened screeds and finishes in husk, lime and clay
o “Dry” bio-compound products: closing panels for internal and external use that substitute the gypsum board
o Wood structural panels with rice straw insolation
o “RISOrsa” house: prefabricated houses in wood and rice construction materials offered in “turnkey” mode, through a partnership with industrial partners. The “RISOrsa” house have the characteristics that is a natural one and consumes less energy than the one that produces.
Rice is the most consumed food on the planet and RiceHouse proposes to replicate the business model globally, exporting the know-how in more than 100 countries where rice is present. By this the company tends to activate new economics in fragile areas and reduce the environmental footprint of the construction sector.
The company was born in September 2016 and is based on the experience of architect Tiziana Monterisi. Tiziana from more than 15 years is specialised in the natural construction and the energy efficiency. In fact, the RiceHouse products are based on the real construction site necessity to replace construction materials with petrochemical origin with a natural one. In 2017 RiceHouse started the commercialisation of one material, in 2018 with three and in 2019 the company is commercialising ten products. In August 2019 RiceHouse submitted two European patent applications. One patent is based on the system and method for the production of 3D printable eco-friendly construction elements with rice by-products and the other one on the system and method for the construction of eco-friendly rice construction materials.
From the beginning of the activity various collaborations both with industrial companies and university partners were activated regarding the research and development activities. The materials were tested in various building sites all over Italy and RiceHouse is starting to focus on new markets, in particular the Spanish one and the German speaking one. Regarding “RISOrsa” 16 houses were built in Italy and the first one in Switzerland is under construction.
The company received numerous acknowledgements starting with Klimahouse Startup Award in 2018, Good Energy Award in 2018, Award for Sustainable Development in 2018. 2019 was very fruitful for the company and several prestigious awards were appointed to RiceHouse. Some of them are ING Challenge for best start up of the year, Award for Best Smart City Vision at Seeds&Chips, Special Repower Award at Premio Marzotto. At Premio Marzotto RiceHouse received in addition a special price of three months of acceleration at Impact Hub, Milan.
The target of RiceHouse is to have the products tested by companies and stakeholders in the European building sector, demonstrating the quality, the economic and technical sustainability of the proposed materials and develop working / licensing partnerships world-wide. The goal is to create functioning commercial network in many countries, in order to help solving world pollution and provide less energy consumption in the construction sector worldwide. In addition, RiceHouse with its brand “RISOrsa” would like to extend its business model also in the sector of packaging, furniture and fashion, basing the products on rice by-products and creating partnerships with industrial partners.
RiceHouse’s involvement starts from the agricultural field and regenerates sustainable architecture that recognize the buildings as our third natural skin.