Building with Used Coffee Grounds

Background
Global energy consumption has increased dramatically over the last decade. This increase is a result of population growth, rapid urbanisation, and economic development, which has resulted in an increase in global demand for heating and cooling and an increase in CO2 emissions.

As a result, successive government thermal regulation policies have emphasised environmental stewardship through the use of eco-friendly composite materials in a variety of building applications while adhering to a sustainable development approach. Researchers are investigating innovative alternatives and low-impact materials, with a particular emphasis on bio-sourced materials, in response to the steady evolution of government regulations towards a modern construction sector.

Coffee is the world’s second largest market, after oil, and a globally traded beverage. Consumption of coffee generates solid waste in the form of used coffee grounds (SCG). Due to the unique physical and chemical properties of SCGs, they can be recovered and reused in a variety of ways.

Concerning the Study
The authors of this study investigated the mechanical, thermal insulation, and sound absorption properties of a potato starch/spent coffee grounds bio-based composite in preparation for its possible use in buildings. On the basis of thermal conductivity and diffusivity measurements, the coffee grounds waste biocomposite was identified as an insulating substance comparable to conventional plant-based thermal insulation materials.

Acoustic tests were conducted to determine the absorption coefficients, which were then compared to those of other commonly used acoustical materials.

Compressive mechanical properties of this bio-based material were investigated. Additionally, its suitability for non-load-bearing buildings was evaluated, as was its mechanical capacity for the development of construction bricks. It was determined the effect of the humid environment on the mechanical, thermal, and acoustic performance.

The groundwork has been laid for a preliminary examination of how this composite performs in two climates: the continental climate of Reims, France, and the tropical climate of Belém, France, and Brazil. The SCGs were characterised, and their suitability for use in construction was demonstrated when combined with a mineral or vegetal binder. The purpose of this research was to develop a novel spent coffee composite material bonded with starch (SSCC) and to characterise its physical and mechanical properties for use in the construction industry.

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