We have been doing some experimentation with some different materials to use as the flooring in the EcoPod. Our first tests were with a plastic honeycomb-like material that was strong and durable but isn’t very eco-friendly. While those tests were considered successful, we want to find a more eco-friendly material that we can use to keep everything about these homes as eco-friendly as possible.
So our search for a flooring material led us to balsa wood. Balsa trees grow very quickly and easily and do not require heavy fertilizer use so it is one of the best sustainable options that are available. Many of us used small pieces of balsa wood in various projects in school. While it comes from the same tree, the balsa wood that we are using is not the flimsy lightweight stuff we played with in school. When milled into larger pieces, balsa is actually quite strong without being too heavy.
We have been getting some deliveries of balsa wood here at the factory, but the wood is fresh so we have to let it dry. The wood is still very heavy when it is new so we have to let it dry before we use it. After drying, the planks are very light and plenty strong enough to use as the flooring. You can see in the video below that when Grant stands on a piece of balsa, it barely even flexes. The lightweight property and good strength are what we are looking for in a flooring material.
Unfortunately, we have to let this wood dry out, which here in the Panamanian humidity can take several months. So we are storing the wood that we are having delivered so that it can take the time to dry out and get to a usable state. After a few months, we should have enough dry balsa wood to make the flooring for two or three EcoPods so we will be sure to update everyone when we are done aging this beautiful balsa wood.