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  • {,< S M A R T R E U S E > > > > > O F G L A S S B O T T L E S

  • Published 2011 by TU Delft Publishing LtdJulianalaan, DelftNetherlands

    Copyrights 2011 Mallisaravanan

    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or trans-mitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording or any information storage and retrieval system ,

    without permission in writing from the publisher.

    A catalogue record of this book is available from TU Delft Bouwkunde Library

    ISBN 1 76554 219 1

    Design by Malli

    Cover picture by Ban Buzz (Flickr)

    Printed in Netherlands100% recycled paper

  • My sincere thanks to Ann Karina, Eric van den Ham, Engbert van der Zaag, Michiel Haas (NIBE) for their support and the useful feedbacks, which helped me in developing this manu-al. Thanks for the series of lectures organised by Ann Karina as a part of the course which gave a good insight towards the current architectural and sustainable developments. I would also like to thank my friends who made me to collect glass bottles after parties, which got piled up in my room. This was also one of the reasons , which truly influenced me in selecting the topic with the theme of reuse for the designers manual.


  • < 01 > Introduction 01

    < 02 > Re- use vs Re -Cycle of Glass Bottles 02

    < 02.1 > Re- cycle < 02.1.a > Manufacturing Glass bottles < 02.1.b > Recycling in EU < 02.1.c > Facts in Recycling < 02.2 > Re- Use < 02.2.a > Re-use Advantages < 02.3 > Re-use vs. Re-Cycle

    < 03 > Technical Specifications 12

    < 03.1 > General Properties < 03.2 > Strength of glass bottles

    < 04 > Case Studies & Analysis 16

    < 04.1 > Heineken WOBO (Structural) < 04.2 > Buddhist Temple (Structural) < 04.3 > Trombe Wall with Glass bottles (Thermal) < 04.4 > Glass bottle heaters (Thermal) < 04.5 > Bottle as illuminators (Optical) < 04.6 > Bottle in Installation (Installation)

    < 04.7 > Colour

    < 05 > Tips for Bottle Construction 36

    < 5.1 >Location < 5.2 > Climate < 5.3 > Extend of Reuse < 5.4 > Quick data < 5.5 > Nature of Construction < 5.6 > Carbon Footprint

    Conclusion 41

    Bibliography 42

    co n t e n t s

  • E l ab o r a t e r e a d e r s >--->---> ______

    Q u i c k r e a d e r s >>>>>>

    _____ M a n u a l f l i p p e r s ???//////

  • I N T R O D U C T I O N

    In the present days context, consumerism has rapidly increased and it creates an enormous amount of packaging waste. These waste materials are either sent to landfills or recycled back for a new use. The reuses of these waste materials are found very minimal. These issues influenced me to create a manual which shows the importance of reuse of materials from packaging waste and applying it in building industry. The reason was because this is the only industry which con-sumes 40% of total raw materials produced in the world [Michiel Haas, 2011]. Since the ranges of reuse of packaging waste from consumerist products are enormous and very broad, the idea was narrowed down to daily use product glass bottles which is used globally. The manual explores and celebrates the greater potential of reusing glass bottles in architecture and engineering fields in construction related works. All these ideas and thoughts helped me in for-mulating a designer manual on Smart reuse of Glass Bottles showing its reuse possibilities.

    The manual will be handy for Architects and Engineers, and the key aims and as-piration is to give them the required information about what they have to know before reusing the bottles for different construction purpose. The information in the manual are organised in a sequence from production to construction under-standing the different stages involved.

    The first chapter begins with the reasons for recycling of glass bottles and the actual process involved. In the latter part, a comparison is made with reuse of bottles, showing greater potential than recycling. The second chapter continues with the basic technical information a designer has to know before starting bot-tle construction and focuses on its properties and advantages. The middle por-tion of the manual are systematically categorised with case studies which uses bottle as a construction elements and analysing its pros and cons. The last part ends with handy tips for bottle construction which could be of great use to the designers in testing and expressing architectural ideas. With this amount of information to hand, this manual will give a better insight and the hidden potentials in reuse of bottles. It will trigger the thinking of alter-nate reuses that could be possible using the glass bottles. This doesnt stop here. The book has been created keeping in mind, the ideas could be triggered at any point when a person reads the manual. So each section of this manual has space to translate your ideas instantly, so that it becomes a part of the book.

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  • R E - U S E VS R E - C Y C L E + OF G L A S S B O T T L E S


    0 2

  • Glass bottles throughout its life, passes through many stages and processes. It is essential to understand the flow during its recycling process and at what stage the bottle is reused. This portion of the manual is focussed on the actual methods involved in recycling of glass and compares it with the advantages of reuse of bottles. This is to show the user the amount of energy that could be saved by reusing bottles instead of recycling it. The sketch describes a clear picture of the reuse and recycles stages.

    03 / Re-Use vs Re- cycle

    02.1 R E C Y C L E

    Recycle of glass bottle is sustainable by which the environ-ment and the bio diversity could be protected. A brief ex-planation shows the series of process involved in its cycle. The first stage in the cycle is the manufacturing of glass, once it s manufactured it is send to its respective bottling factories where it is branded. After this, the bottles hit the markets and reach the customers. Once the user finishes its contents, this bottle is collected back in the bottle banks and sorted according to colour and shape. Later, it is sent back to the factory for its recycling process. In this way glass bot-tles forms a closed endless loop, thereby creating a strong cradle to cradle. Glass is one of the very few examples where the same material can be recycled over and over again with-out loss of quality.

  • Re-Use vs Re- cycle / 04

    02.1.a M a n u f a c t u r i n g G l a s s B o t t l e s

    In the manufacturing process of glass, it uses three differ-ent raw materials. Initially, sand is heated to a very high temperature so that it becomes liquid. With this Soda ash, a powdery white material is used to lower the melting point of the sand. Limestone is then added to make it stronger. There are different steps involved in the manufacturing pro-cess .

    1. Firstly, the collected glass to be recycled is weighed and it is loaded on the right colour pile. Then it is crushed and bro-ken down into smaller pieces called cullet. The cullet un-dergoes different process to eliminate the non-glass waste and a magnet is used to remove iron particles and vacuum is used to eliminate light weight materials. Other impurities like opaque materials like terracotta, small stones are de-tected by a laser beam and it is removed. 2. After sorting the glass, the cullet is taken to the factory and mixed with materials like calcium carbonate, silica, so-dium carbonate and it is put in a furnace and is heated to 1600C. All the materials melt s and the molten glass flows out of the furnace.

    3. These molten glass is made into thick strands and it is cut into short lengths called gobs and it is dropped into the moulds. Now the glass has to take its shape, for this a plunger is put into the liquid glass and air is blown through it with full pressure, so that the molten glass is forced to spreads along the surface of the mould and takes the re-quired shape.

    4. Once the shape is formed it is removed from the mould. Then bottles undergo a process called annealing where they are put in a oven and again reheated to 550C and cooled slowly in order to the strengthen the glass. [Tammy et al.,2000]All source : Friend of Glass , 2008

    1 2

    2 3

    4 5

  • 5. All the bottles are checked thoroughly in order to ensure quality and if found with some defects, it is again sand back to furnace. Glass is virtually inert because all of its constitu-ent raw materials are contained within a homogenous ma-trix .By varying the proportion of the chemicals coloured glass could be obtained. For instance a little quantity of co-balt for blue and chromium or iron for dark green coloured glass. [Friends of glass 1, 2008].After all these steps the glass packed and send to the drinks factory

    --- The energy and CO2 emissions resulting from the extrac-tion and transport of raw materials are saved (1 kg cullet used replaces 1.2 kg virgin raw materials). Of course, cullet has also to be transported, but, on average, the transport distance for cullet is much smaller than the transport dis-tance of raw materials. . [FEVE 1, 2000]

    The FEVE LCA (The European Container Glass Federation- Life Cycle Assessment) shows that by replacing 1.2 kg of raw material by 1 kg of cullet, 0.67 kg of CO2 is saved. In 2008, across Europe, an estimated 25.5 billion glass bottles and jars [1] (or nearly 11.5 million tonnes of cullet) were dropped into bottle banks ready to be recycled. In terms of CO2 savings this equals to remove nearly 4 million cars from the road [2]. The graph shows the statistics of the recycle of glass and the CO2 emissions

    [1] The suggestive weight of a bottle is 450gms. This is a very conservative reference as nowadays bottles can achieve a weight of about 300 gms.

    [2] These figures have been calculated by using results on CO2 savings drawn from the FEVE LCA, and applying a meth-odology implemented by CO.RE.VE (Italian Recycling Organi-sation ( and the Italian Research Institute, Stazione Sperimentale del Vetro ( This is based on technical, scientific and economic param-eters currently used in Italy. [FEVE 1, 2000]

    Today more than 67% of glass bottles and jars are collected for recycling in the European Union. This equals to 11 million tonnes or 25 billion bottles and jars collected throughout Europe. Over 80 per cent of these are actually recycled by European glassmakers to make new bottles and jars. Glass is 100% recyclable and infinitely in a closed loop system. This avoids down cycling, land filling or incineration and it is therefore key to a resource efficient Europe. The EUs waste hierarchy, after prevention and reuse, recognises recycling as the best environmental option over energy recovery and land filling. [FEVE 2, 2000]

    02.1.b R e c y c l i n g i n E U

    European Union has taken considerable measures to con-tribute towards the recycling of glass. The idea to forecast these statistics is to make the user realise what is the kind of contribution he/she is making on a global scale. In many countries within EU, there are different methods adopted to sort bottles. In general, the basis for sorting follows three principles, collecting only glass containers, keeping glass out of junk, sorting it by colour.

    By following such methods, a considerable amount of CO2 can be reduced for many reasons

    --- A 40% less energy is required to melt the cullet when compared to the fresh raw materials.--- The raw materials when put in the furnace it decom-poses to produce CO2, by using cullet it could be minimised.

    Source : FEVE, 2000

    05 / Re-Use vs Re- cycle

  • Source : FEVE, 2000

    The following statistics shows the glass production through Europe. The recycling of glass is calculated with a formula in order to derive the percentage of National Recycling Rate. [FEVE 3, 2000]

    National tonnage of cullet (tonnes) x 100 = ...National recycling rate ( %)

    National glass consumption (in tonnes)

    Re-Use vs Re- cycle / 06

  • Source : FEVE, 2000

    Source : FEVE, 2000

    Source : FEVE, 2000

    07 / Re-Use vs Re- cycle

  • 02.1.c F a c t s i n R e c y c l i n g

    There are enormous amount of facts that have been de-rived based on recycling of glass.

    -- 1 tonne of recycled glass saves more than 300 kg of CO2 (Source COREVE)

    -- Today, glass containers are 40% lighter than they were 20 years ago. (Source:

    -- The jar you put in the bottle bank might be back on the shelf within 70 days! (Source: Dublin City Council)

    -- Re-melting glass (cullet) uses 40% less energy than mak ing glass from raw materials. (Source: Institute for Pro spective Technological Studies - IPTS)

    -- In 2006, Europe recycled 10,000,000 tonnes of glass. In terms of CO2 savings, this would correspond to tak ing 1,600,000 cars off the road (Source COREVE)

    -- Glass produced from recycled glass reduces related air pollution by 20% and related water pollution by 50%. (Source: WWF)

    -- Recycling a single bottle could power a computer for 25 minutes. (Source: British Glass)

    -- Recycling a single bottle could power a colour television for 20 minutes. (Source: British Glass)

    -- Recycling a single bottle could power a washing machine for 10 minutes. (Source: British Glass)

    -- Recycling 4 glass bottles could power a fridge for a whole day. (Source: Ecovidrio )

    Re-Use vs Re- cycle / 08

    -- Glass container manufacturers have set a goal to achieve 50% recycled content in the manufacture of new glass bottles by 2013. Using 50% recycled glass to make new glass containers would save enough energy to power 21,978 homes for one year and remove 181,550 tons of waste from landfills every month. (Source: GPI Glass Packaging Institute)

    -- Energy costs drop about 2-3% for every 10% cullet used in the manufacturing process. (Source : GPI Glass Packag ing Institute)

    -- One ton of carbon dioxide is reduced for every six tons of recycled container glass used in the manufacturing pro cess. (Source : GPI Glass Packaging Institute)

    -- According to a 2009 survey, 8 out of 10 households recy cle, and of those that do, 82% recycle glass bottles and jars. And, 69% recycle glass containers at the curb, while 23% use drop-off collection. (Source : GPI Glass Packaging In stitute)

    If you are interested to know the amount of energy you could save by recycling the glass bottles, use the Carbon Counter calculator on this site ,

  • 09 / Re-Use vs Re- cycle

    If recycling of a single bottle could save a

    great extent of energy , , think how much more

    energy you could BE saveD by reusing it ?

    02.2. R E U S E

    Reuse of glass bottles is to use the bottle more than once for the same purpose. A new life reuse is to use the bottle for a different purpose. It helps in protecting environment by consuming less energy and resource than recycling, since the old items do not need to be processed before they can be used again. Reusing comes first before recycling in Re-duce, Reuse, Recycle Waste hierarchy. It creates a closed loop system and even the water used for cleaning the bottle comes from the waste water plant. By taking useful prod-ucts and exchanging them, without reprocessing, reuse help save time, money, energy, and resources. In broader economic terms, reuse offers quality products to people and organizations with limited means, while generating jobs and business activity that contribute to the economy. [All -recycling facts, 2009]

    The overall impact on energy use and CO2 emission is con-trolled by reusing bottle for multiple lives , thereby increas-ing the sustainable value of it . According to the data from FEVE LCA about 7% are reused up to 40 times. [FEVE 4, 2000]

    For every reused bottle the energy and raw materials can be amortized over its full life span. The production of bot-tles could be reduced by increasing the reuse trips , even thought there are small impacts associated with collecting and cleaning these bottles prior to refilling. This provides a step change reduction in impact compared to any form of one-trip packaging. The ability to reuse over and over again to such a high degree puts glass into a league of its own for reusable sales packaging.

    This is important because from reuse and the closed loop recycling process come new, identical products (e.g. glass bottles from collected glass bottles), meaning no down cy-cling. Down cycling into other applications ultimately means it will be lost forever from the closed loop system.

    The FEVE LCA examines three boundary levels:

    - Gate-to-Gate (the blue box above, covers from the entry to the exit gate of the glasswork).- Cradle-to-Gate (the orange box, includes sourcing of raw materials, fuels and transport).- Cradle-to-Cradle (the green box, includes the End-of-Life phase).

  • Re-Use vs Re- cycle / 10

    02.2.a. R e u s e A d v a n t a g e s

    Reuse of bottle has influenced the social and economic aspects in a society and has vast potential in it. [Reuse Glass Bottles, 2009]

    -- Reuse causes less water and air pollution, instead of manufacturing a new bottle or recycling it

    -- On a society level, it reduces the carbon footprint of a community.

    -- Creates less hazardous waste

    -- Saves cost in purchases and disposal costs

    -- Creates employment and new business opportunities for entrepreneurs

    -- Goods and materials out of the waste stream

    -- Avoids depletion of new raw materials

    -- Creates a new packaging source for businesses

  • 02.3 R E U S E V S R E C Y C L E

    In general, it is always better not to stop recycling, but on the other hand its good to reuse bottle thereby extending the life of it. Reuse and recycling could be well compared with certain critical parameter which defines the quality and efficiency.

    Energy consumption: Recycling of glass uses certain amount of energy in reprocessing a material into a new raw material, it takes 66% of energy it would take to manufac-ture new glass bottle, whereas by reusing glass, there is no energy consumption.

    CO2 Emission: In the recycling process, cullet is added to the fresh raw material which decomposes to gives CO2, on an average 0.67 kg of CO2 is saves by using 1 kg of cullet [FEVE 1, 2000]. The economic and environmental impacts of recycling are complex. In reuse of glass, since there is no production, only cleaning of bottles are considered which produces very minimal amount carbon dioxide when com-pared to recycling.

    Raw material: Even though by effective recycling very minimal amount of fresh raw materials are used , but it is not possible to make molten glass only with cullet , it need certain amount of fresh raw material during its production process. In reuse there is no production.

    Transportation: In recycling, the transport distance for cullet is much smaller than the transport distance of raw materials. Whereas in reuse there is a effective zoning of bottle banks, so transportation distances of collecting used bottles and converting them into new bottles is less.

    Awareness: On social level lots of awareness is given on the recycling of glass, where as reuse awareness is minimal because the present consumerist marketers does not pro-

    Marketing: The current consumerist market which uses glass for their packaging does not promote its reuse because , when a product reaches a customer , it should be clean without reused scratches and a effective collection of bot-tles is not implemented in many countries so it ends up get-ting recycled or thrown in landfills.

    Opportunities: The process of recycling is a heavy indus-trial processes which is completely mechanised and auto-mated; where as collecting, cleaning and reusing of bottles would create lot of job opportunities for entrepreneurs at different levels of bottle collections and circulation

    Issues: The idea of reuse is blurred out because, people are not aware of it , secondly when a bottles reused , the bot-tling company could make some kind of marks so that peo-ple will be aware of how many times the bottle is used be-fore throwing it for recycling. On an average a bottle could be reused for 40 times, so the energy and raw materials can be amortized over its full life span.

    11 / Re-Use vs Re- cycle

  • T E C H N I C A L S P E C I F I C A T I O N S


    0 3

  • 13 / Re-Use vs Re- cycle

    Before designing with a glass bottle it is important to un-derstand some of its technical properties which will help in evolving a effective design. The information provides will serve the Designer with required basic knowledge about the general properties and strength o``f glass bottles.

    03.1 . G e n e r a l P r o p e r t i e s

    A glass is an inorganic non metallic material that does not have a crystalline structure. Because of its molecular struc-ture, glass is gastight. Glass neither reacts with nor absorbs foreign substances, whether they come from outside the food container or the product contained within it. Some of the properties of glass containers are listed below

    Mechanical Strength: Glass has a good inherent strength. It is good in compression and is weak with tension forces. The reason for the failure is due to the surface imperfec-tion. Sometimes bottles may suffer from stress as a result of unequal cooling rates. That is the reason, when a glass gets damaged it will be because of the tension strength failure. Glass is weak in tensile strength is that it is normally covered in microscopic cracks which generate local stress concen-trations. .So proper surface treatments could enhance its strength.Tensile strength of glass is about 27MPa to 62 MPa. [ROYMECH,2010 ]

    Density - 2.44e3- 2.49e3 Kg/m^3Youngs modulus 68-72 GPaYield Strength (Elastic limit) 30-35 MPaTensile Strength 31-35 MPaFracture Toughness = 0.55-0.7 MPa.m^0.5 [CES EDUPACK,2010]

    Resistance: Glass is a resistant against most industrial and food acid. Rarely gets it affected by few chemicals.

    Optical: Glass has the property to reflect and bend light. At the same time it transmits and absorbs light very effectively.

    Thermal Properties: Glass can retain heat for a longer time and conduct it. It can absorb heat faster than metals.

    Good in CompressionBad in Tension

    Internal pressure cause Tension stress in the External surface

    Parts of a Bottle

  • Re-Use vs Re- cycle / 14

    03.2 S t r e n g t h o f G l a s s B o t t l e s

    The strength of the glass container could be affected by the shape and use of the container, forming method, in plant processing, customer handling and consumer. The strength is also dependent on the kind of design of the container in its critical portions like heel contact, shoulder contact, side wall and bearing surface .There are some rules for designing bottles for worst condition [Emilio,2009]

    Diameter X Pressure / (2 X Expected Surface Stress) = Mini-mum Glass Wall Thickness

    Bottles are designed keeping in mind the amount of internal pressure it has to handle because of the carbonated bev-erage contents inside. It produces a lot of tensile stress on the external surface. Depending on the weigh and pressure the thickness of the glass container is determined. In order to get better surface strength glass containers are treated with a coating of Polyethylene Emulsion sprayed on bottle after annealing. So the surface compression on bottles is de-veloped with 30-40 MPa. The future challenge is to match returnable performance at nonreturnable thickness

    Thermal Conductivity 0.7-1.3 W/m CSpecific heat Capacity 850-950 J/Kg. CThermal Expansion Co efficient 9.1-9.5 Mu strain/C [CES EDUPACK,2010]

    Elasticity: Gives under stress - up to a breaking point - but rebounds exactly to its original shape. Glass has virtually zero ductility.

    Electrical insulation: Strongly resists electric current. Stores electricity very efficiently.

    ECO PropertiesEmbodied Energy , Primary Production 14-17 MJ/KgCO2 Footprint, Primary production 0.7-1 Kg/Kg [CES EDUPACK,2010]

    Source : Emilio, 2010


    Reflect / refract Light

    Conducts Heat

  • 15 / Re-Use vs Re- cycle


    Source : Emilio, 2010

    Source : Emilio, 2010


  • C A S E S T U D Y

    0 4

    A N D A N A L Y S I S

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  • Project : The Heineken World Bottles WOBO (1963)

    Location: Caribbean Island of Curaao Heineken estate in Noordwijk, Amsterdam (Pro totype) Architect : Ir. N. John Habraken (Principal Architect) Rinus van den Berg (Project Architect )

    Typology : Housing for inhabitants in Caribbean Island

    Client : Freddy Heineken (Heineken brewery-owner)

    04 .1 T H E H E I N E K E N W O B O

    [,< S T R U C T U R A L >

  • After a series of design process Habraken came up with two different bottle sizes 350 mm and 500mm ,in order to lay horizontally , interlock and self-aligning bottles . The differ-ence in the size was to bond the bottles to create a wall, in the way as half brick and full brick bonding.

    The idea of creating such bond was to reduce the usage of mortar , as it would add complexity and expense to the bot-tle walls intended simplicity and affordability. The bottle was designed to be interlocking and bonded with cement mortar with a silicon additive. The challenge was to find a solution for window openings and corners which could be constructed without cutting bottles . A 10 ft (3.0 m) x 10 ft (3.0 m) shack would take approximately 1,000 bottles to build. [Glass quarterly,2009]

    In the end, only two WoBo structures were ever built: a shack at the Heineken estate (which was torn down in 2002 after Freddys death) and a wall made from WoBos at the Heineken Museum in Amsterdam. Today there are only a handful of individual WoBos left in existence.

    P r o j e c t B a c k g r o u n d:

    During Mr . Heinekens visit to a factory in Caribbean Islands , he noticed two major issues : the beaches filled with dis-carded beer bottles and unhygienic housing situations in the neighbourhood due to lack of affordability of building materials. After seeing this Mr. Heineken came up with the vision of WOBO in order to solve the problems of recycling bottles and housing needs in the islands. The idea was to use beer bottles to construct houses for the people under-going unhealthy situation. So he appointed a Dutch Archi-tect John Habraken to come up with a proposal for a bottle house - a brick that holds beer. [INHABITAT,2011]

    M a t e r i a l s a n d C o n s t r u c t i o n:

    After a series of design process Habraken came up with two different bottle sizes 350 mm and 500mm ,in order to lay horizontally , interlock and self-aligning bottles . The differ-ence in the size was to bond the bottles to create a wall, in the way as half brick and full brick bonding.

    Left Opposite : Picture of WOBO Bottles at Heineken

    Museum, Amsterdam. Source : Mike Dillon (flickr)

    Top : Interlocking of glass bottles

    Right : Alternate bonding arrangement of the glass


    Source : Inhabitat

    Source : Inhabitat

    Case study / 18

  • C l i m a t e :

    In spite of the fact that theses bottles houses were never realised , but it was designed for a Semi Arid climate in Cu-racao . The design of the structure should have been done with proper overhangs for shading because the dry climate and heavy sunlight during summer (highest 38.3 C) could heat up the bottles . Thereby it creates uncomfortable situa-tion inside the space. So an alternative could be these glass bottles could be filled with repelling materials in order to maintain a constant temperature inside.

    S p e c i f i c I n f o :

    After the completion of the design for the units , Mr. Heineken and Habraken approached Royal Leerdam Glass company to produce first set of 60,000 bottles. But due to the opposition from Managers and the marketing advisors the project was dropped. Later with some of these bottles a small shed was built in Mr. Heinekens estate in Noordwijk, Netherlands.

    Later in 1975 ,Heineken once again approached Habraken who teamed up with designer Rinus van den Berg and de-signed a building with oil drums for columns, Volkswagen bus tops for roof and the WOBO bottles for walls, but the structure was never built. Today, the shed at the Heineken estate and a wall made of WOBO at the Heineken Museum in Amsterdam are the only structures where the beer brick was used. [Anneke, 2009]

    S u s t a i n a b i l i t y :

    The idea of WOBO was a great innovation towards reuse of bottles and if realised , it would have been a revolutionary step towards sustainability. The crux of a bottle construction lies in the way the bottles could be used without breaking and its fixing details, which the architect has resolved ef-ficiently. On an average once the bottles are collected and brought to the factory its cleaned and reused for 30 times. After which the bottle could be used for construction. So in this way it saves more energy .

    Corners get high stressbecause of te shape of bottle

    Wall thichness of bottle is increased to overcome streses

    Cut down 20% of ight

    350 mm

    500 mm

    Bonding in both direction to get more stability

    Clear corners without bottle cutting

    19 / Case study

  • The lifecycle of the product is increased and in overall the carbon footprint is reduced. For a house of 100 sq. ft , according to the calculations 1000 WOBO bottles are required.

    P r o s :

    The idea is revolutionary and if executed, a strong cradle to cradle could have been achieved.

    The green coloured bottles cut down the light transmit tance by 20%., avoiding glare.

    Low cost in construction

    Because of the shape of the bottle , a effective bonding arrangement could be achieved without material wastage.

    C O N S :

    Since all the four walls are of glass , its difficult to nail and do electrical or plumbing works

    During summer the bottles could heated up.

    Even thought light transmission is cut down , UV light gets transmitted to inner space

    Details of openings and junction become critical.

    Because of the rectangular cross section of bottle, the wall thickness in high in order to transfer forces

    Source : Inhabitat Source : Inhabitat

    Left: A small module of glass bottle shed in Heineken EstateRight : Unrealised project using WOBO bottles, oil drums, Volkswagen bus tops

    Case study / 20

  • [,< S T R U C T U R A L >

    04.2 B u d d h i s t t e m p l e

    Project Name : Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew Temple

    Location: Khun Han ,Sisaket province , Thailand

    Typology : Temple complex

    Project Background

    The resident Buddhist monks at the Wat Pa Maha Chedi Kaew complex encourage local authorities to deposit any used bottles at the temple which they then use to build new structures. Altogether there are about 1.5million recycled bottles in the temple, and the monks at there are intending to recycling even more. Even though drinking is a sin in Bud-dhism, this still seems like a positive use of beer and lager bottles. Representing the cleansing of the human mind, the beer-bottle-temple is now on an approved list of eco-friend-ly building. [Inhabitat,2011]

    Case study / 22


    The construction of the temple is made up of different shapes and colours of bottle. The binding material is a mortar with sand and clay. Even bottle caps have been used in many portions for decoration purposes.

    Structure & Construction:

    Basically , the temple complex has some basic structure made in concrete and the glass bottles are constructed over them. In certain portion of the building, glass is used as the structural element making use of its compressive strengths. The interesting part of the construction is the way the bot-tles are arranged and bonded without cutting them. The quality in the construction has resulted in a very clean sur-face with very less maintenance. The pagodas of the temple are crafted with bottles, in order to create the curvature the small sized bottles are used. The railing around the water body uses only glass as structure and to transfer the weight the bottles are laid vertically to transfer the weight of bal-ustrade , since it can handle a good compressive stresses.

  • 23 / Case study

    source : Inhabitat,Will Barnes

  • Case study / 24

    Pros :

    Community level awareness toward reuse and CO2 foot print. Efficient bonding without cutting of bottles Easy for maintenance , since there is no fading in the glass bottles.

    CONS :

    The bottles in the exterior could be made use for heating water or for other purpose. In most of the areas bottles are used only as a decorative element . By making use of the property of glass, different kinds of lighting levels could have been achieved inside spaces, but most of the bottles are arranged in such a way that they dont conduct light inside.

    Climate :

    Thailand has a tropical climate with high temperature and humidity. Since bottles are used all over the external skin, possibility of heating up is high. Since they have used green and brown bottles in the exterior , the thermal conductiv-ity is less in these bottles and in some portion the bottle is stuffed with sand and clay , so that the chances for heat conducting the building is less.

    Sustainability :

    It is really a good initiative by the Monks to reuse these bot-tles to reduce the co2 footprint. But it will be always good when the bottle is reused as many times as possible and during the end of its period , it could be used in application like this or else it will not be efficient. This initiative could influence the locals in making use of the waste and collected glass container without sending them to landfill.

    Left opposite top row : Corridor to the main complex will glass bottle floor-ing, columns and railing ; Railing supported by glass bottle

    Left oposite middle row : Corner detail of wall, ; The Monk overlooking the glass bottle wall

    Left opposite bottomm row : Facade of the temple

    Top left : Amber glass bottle wall

    Top right : Pagoda of the temple decorated with bottles

  • 04.3 T R O M B E W A L L W I T H

    G L A S S B O T T L E

    [,< T H E R M AL >

    Aim : To achieve more heat gain and increase the efficiency of Trombe wall by using glass bottles in it.

    Requirement A Trombe wall with outer glazing , glass bottles, Organic inks / water to fill inside the bottle.

    Description Trombe wall : Basically, trombe walls are used for heat ab-sorption and storage and it is located on the south facing side to gain maximum heat. . It consist of an 8- to 16-inch thick masonry wall coated with a dark, heat-absorbing ma

    terial and faced with a single or double layer of glass placed from 3/4 to 6 away from the masonry wall to create a small airspace. Solar heat passes through the glass and is absorbed by the dark surface. . This heat is stored in the wall, where it is conducted slowly inward through the ma-sonry. If you apply a sheet of metal foil or other reflective surface to the outer face of the wall, you can increase so-lar heat absorption by 30-60% (depending on your climate) while decreasing the potential for heat loss through out-ward radiation.[Attra,1997]

    Integration of Glass bottles :

    If trombe walls are built with glass bottles inlayed in the ma-sonry, the efficiency of the heat absorption could be speed-ed up and increased. Depending on the way the bottles are arranged exposing higher surface area , it favours high heat absorption. The bottles could be filled with water (363 BTU/sq.ft/F) or organic ink to make it more effective in storing the heat for longer time and conducting it to the masonry. [Attra,1997]

    source : Australian Center for Renewable Energy

    25 / Case study

  • Pros :

    High efficiency in heat storage A proper combination of masonry elements (rocks 35 BTU/sq.ft/F) with reflective coating and glass bottles will make it more efficient. By using bottles, required amount of light could be brought inside , through the Trombe wall By use of bottles with water / organic ink , the light qual ity in a space can be controlled Some kind of aesthetical pattern could be made in the wall by creative use of bottles in wall.

    Cons :

    If the bottles are not sealed might need high mainte nance Construction should be done precisely or else it might crack the bottle If not sealed with proper liquids inside, it might need to be replaced in regular intervals.

    source : Wikipedia

    Rock as masonry35 BTU/sq.ft/F

    Glass bottle Water63 BTU/Sq.ft/F

    This arrangement allows good Light transmissionbut Low surface area of bottle exposed to sun

    Light is blocked and glass botlles used in this ar-rangement to get high sur-face area to heat masonry and the cavity

    Building Skin Heat ConductionOpaque wall - U value - 0.07 BTU/Sq.Ft F Hr Source : Alex Wilson

    Skin Conductance = U Value x Area (BTU/F Hr )

    Case study / 26

  • [,< T H E R M AL >04.4 G L A S S B O T T L E H E A T E R S

    Designer : Mr. Ma Yanjun , a Chinesefarmer

    Location : Qiqiao villiage in the Shaanxi province

    Purpose : Beer bottles used as heat radiator to prepare hot water

    Requirement : Glass beer bottles , hose pipes, joining seal-ant

    Description : The 66 numbers of beer bottles are arranged on a cardboard slope , they hold water and transfer the heat energy of the sun, turning the water into hot water . The bottles are connected to each other and the top row of bottles are connected to a hose pipe. So once the water passes through all the bottles , it gets heated up . The idea is very effective but it has been executed in a non technical way.

    27 / Case study

  • Pros Low cost Easy to Install Bottles are reused effectively , and depending on the water requirement , the numbers can be increased.

    Cons The sun s angle is not considered Green coloured bottle transmit less heat , The flow through the bottles is not unoptimised Heat loss through conduction is possible since the bot tles are not covered properly

    Criterias to be Considered :

    Azimuth angle of the to collect all possible energy of sun in winter months Protecting the glass bottles from heat loss. Colour of the bottle , because clear bottle has maximum heat conductivity. Flow control of the water between the bottles

    Sources: Ananova, DIY Sources: Ecoideas

    water storage

    cold water inlet

    hot wateroutlet



    Brown glass- low thermal conductivityGreen glass - Medium thermal conductivityClear glass - High thermal conductivity

    1 person = 22 nos of 1 litre bottle

    top left : picture showing glass bot-tle arrangement

    top right : a similar example done with PET bottles in technical way in Brazil

    Case study / 28

  • [,< O P T I C A L >04.5 B O T T L E A S I L L U M I N A T O R S

    Designer : Mr Alfredo Moser, a mecanics worker.

    Location : Sao Paulo , Brazil.

    Purpose : To refract the sun rays and bringing it inside the-living space

    Requirement: A glass / PET bottle , water , 2 cups of sanitary water to prevent mold growth


    In 2002, during a long electrical shortage, at Uberaba, So Paulo, Mr Alfredo r discovered a way to gather sun light in the house through plastic bottles hanging from the roof. Al-fredo Moser was pressed by a scarce electricity substitution and found out that he could light his house with a bottle of water filled with water and a protection cap made of cam-era film. The bottle is just refracting sunlight very

    Glass bottle / PET bottle Water

    29 / Case study

  • [,< O P T I C A L >

    effectively and produces an equivalent light power com-pared to a 50/60W lamp. In a rainy day, even without much light and direct sun, one still have some light. [Jose , 2008 ]

    PROS A very simple innovative and efficient system A Single bottle can lit up a room of 10 x 10 ft Easy installation No cost incurred


    Fixing of bottle directly into the roof is possible only is the roof thickness is less. For thicker roofslabs , some other fixing system should be worked out In cold climate regions, there should be some extra detail to close the system , or else as it might conduct the cold inside.

    50 - 60 W light outputHigher surface area of bottleLess point of contact with roof1,5 lt bottle = 60 W

    Reduced light outputLess surface area of bottleMore point of contact with roof

    thick roof slab

    thicn roof slab

    Opposite right: Bottles in-stalled in asbestos roofTop left : Room without light Top Right : Room lit by 2 bottles Bottom left : Light output in darkBottom right : A person check-ing the light intensity

    Case study / 30

  • [,< INSTALLATION >04.6 B O T T L E s I n I N S T A L L A T I O N

  • Project: The Blatz

    Architect: Johnsen Schmaling Architects

    Location: Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA

    Project Area: 836 sqm


    Each pivoting bottle door is 9-6 wide and 9 tall and con-sists of a welded aluminum frame and 1,590 horizontally stacked empty beer bottles. Using CNC technology, the bottles are held in place by a thin web of precision-milled neoprene rings that are suspended between the members of the aluminum frame. Illuminated on all sides, the brown bottles emanate a warm amber glow reflected in the pol-ished concrete floor. A customized set of pivoting hardware was developed , that allows a lounge guest to rotate each door around its center axis, thus permitting a high degree of spatial flexibility: the space can be totally open or, alterna-tively, private parties can be held in one part of the lounge while the other one remains accessible to the public. [ Nico Saieh, 2009 ]

    All photos : Kevin Miyazaki

    neoprene rings on Alu frame Section

    Case study / 32

  • [,< COLOUR >

    Top row : Bottle installation in Museum in MonstroCityBottom : bottle wall by artist Charles Stagg in his home in Vidor, Texas.t

    Opposite right : Dukes Bottle house AustraliaOpposite left column : Calico house , California

    Photo credit to Scott Eslinger

    Photo credit toRudolf

    The colour that is dispersed from the glass bottle completely changes the quality of a space. Different coloured bottles have dif-ferent wavelength to absorb and disperse light. The brown bottles have the least light absorption and clear glass bottles are high in light absorption.

    33 / Case study

  • Case study / 34

    [,< COLOUR >


  • < T H I N K >before you start a bottle construc-

    tions and evaluate what you are going

    to achieve by doing it ! !

  • T I P S F O R B O T T L E C O N S T R U C T I O N

    0 5




  • Bottle construction might look simplified , but there are certain criterias and properties that should be considered to make it less complicated. A design intervention using bottles can create endless ideas. So , these tips will help in structuring the idea before it is executed. Given below are the aspects but we should be clear before starting the con-struction .

    5.1. Location5.2. Climate5.3. Extend of Reuse5.4. Quick data5.5. Nature of Construction 5.6 Carbon Footprint

    5.1 L O C A T I O N

    Location is very important before we start the construction using bottles . There are certain things to be addressed.

    a. Soil condition in the location. Depending on the kind of soil the foundation could be decided.b. Climatic condition of the place. c. Availability of all building materials like bottles , binding materials, in close proximity to site so that not much en ergy is spent on the transportation.

    5.2 C L I M A T E

    Since bottles is a very sensitive material , it can conduct heat or cold very easily. So according to the climate zone, certain design features has to be considered to protect bot-tle wall and serve the purpose without any trouble.

    a. Cold Conditions : When the temperature drops below 15 C , it becomes very bad to use bottles in the exterior walls. So by using the ther-mal and optical properties of glass , think what could be done to draw heat inside the building . For example , using glass bottles in Trombe wall will bring good efficient heat storage and transfer heat to internal spaces in the night.

    b. Hot Conditions : When a sun hits the bottles directly, it conducts heat very fast. So it is always better to have overhangs in your design , so direct sunlight falling in glass bottle could be avoided in most part of the day. In this condition , bottles with organic ink or insulation can block the heat and create good comfort level inside building. Even details could be worked out to circulate cold water in the glass bottles .

    5.3 E X T E N D O F R E U S E

    Once the location and the climate conditions of the place is decided , next is the procurement of glass bottles. It is al-ways good to collect bottles from close proximity , so there is no energy spend on transportation.

    !!! T he best way to collect bottle is to inform the neighbours and friends about your need for bottles

    For construction purpose four types of bottles are availablea. Beer bottlesb. Wine bottlesc. Liquor bottlesd. Glass jars and glass containers

    !!! Always remember , a bottle could be reused minimum of 40 times , before you use it for construction [Source: GPI] But the problem is , it is difficult to identify the number of times the bottle has been reused.

    !!! It could be very helpful , if the glass packaging companies come up with some kind of a laser marking or a labelling in a bottle indicating the number of times a bottle has been reused , so that people can check that before they use it for other purpose. If it has be reused less that 30 /40 times, send it back to bottle banks. Always use a bottle which has completed its life cycle .

    If you have any ideas that you want to convey it to the pack-aging industry , then follow the link

    37 / Tips for construction

  • In the present context , only beer bottles are re used. Wine and liquor bottles again go to recycle process. There are marketing strategies behind it. But things could be changed. If you again have some idea , post it here

    Once the bottles are collected , all labels and coverings and glue around bottle has to be removed. Then sort it accord-ing to the colour. Then sort it according to size in each col-our and keep the materials ready for construction.

    5.4. Q u i c k d a t a s

    Colour pays a major role in property of glass . Most com-monly used coloured bottles are clear glass, green glass, brown glass. As the iron content increases and the glass at-tains a darker green colour, the transmittance in the near-ultraviolet region (A) decreases, hut remains at a fairly high level in the visible region (400 to 700 nm).

    Light transmission : clear glass > green glass > Brown glass

    Thermal Conductivity : clear glass > green glass > Brown glass

    !!! Always try using round bottle, as it can transfer the force along its circular side wall. It is good in compression.

    !!! Avoid rectangular shaped bottles,as the corners become very critical weak points.

    !!! Long neck bottles are bit risky as the neck portion is very sensitive to heavy forces

    !!! When the bottles are filled with a (dark) liquid, or other dark material, the wall can function as a thermal mass, ab-sorbing solar radiation during the day and radiating it back into the space at night, thus dampening diurnal tempera-ture swings.

    !!! it is always good to have only certain wall with bottle for specific purpose and not all walls since it has some practical problem like nailing , bring electrical and plumbing lines. So always plan for specific purpose and make it simple.

    !!! Bottle sizes

    Average size of Beer bottles : 9 X 2.5 inchesAverage size of wine bottle : 12 X 4.5 X 4.5 Inches Liquor bottle : depends on design

    Source : Bradely

    Source : GPI

    Tips for construction / 38

  • 39 / Tips for construction

    5.5. Nature of Construction

    Plan some preliminary drawings so that it satisfies the de-sign part and also self load bearing capacity.

    a. Structure

    Dig a trench in that is 6 inches deep and 3 inches wider than is needed for the footing of the wall. Now fill the trench with 4 inches of gravel.

    You will now build a frame constructed from 2x4s to form the footing of the wall. Ensure that the frame is at least 16 inches wide on the inside. On the outside of the frame, use supporting stakes attached directly to and even with the frame. Although bottle walls can be constructed in many different ways, they are typically made on a foundation that is set into a trench in the earth to add stability to the wall.

    The trench is filled with a rubble of pea gravel and then filled in with cement. Rebar can be set into the foundation to add structural integrity. Bottle walls range from using one bottle as a filler in a thin wall to making walls two bottles thick. Most intriguing though, is the wall made from bottles cut in half, matched, and joined to another bottle of the same size and color. Primitive mixture, such as cob or adobe, are made from a mix of sand, clay, and straw. This is used as the mortar to bind the bottles. It is thickly spread on the previous layer of bottles followed by the next layer which is pressed into the mixture. Typically two fingers of separation are used as a means of spacing although any kind of spacing can be achieved. [Do it yourself,2009]

    Bottles can also be duct taped together to create a window-type effect. Two similar size bottles can be taped together with the openings allowing a light passage way. This also traps air and creates a small amount of insulation. Filling glass with liquid that will be subjected to freezing and thaw-ing is not a good idea, but is useful if the glass is protected from temperature extremes.Lay down wire inside the footing area for flexible support of the footing. Once this is done, you will be able to pour

    Lay down wire inside the footing area for flexible support of the footing. Once this is done, you will be able to pour your concrete mixture over the wire and up to the top of the frame construction. Smooth out the concrete by going across the top of it with the edge of a 2x4 until all holes are filled and the surface is even and smooth. Allow the footing to cure for 2 to 3 days.

    b. Adding Columns to the Footing

    Use cinder blocks to build columns on each end of your wall. Lay the blocks to the desired height of your bottle wall. Do-ing this will help provide strength and a great, clean look to your wall since the corners will get the most contact.

    A little more descriptive way to do it is to start with a foun-dation, lay down a thick layer of mortar and embed the bot-tles, all roughly the same dimension, half-way into the mor-tar. Put down a second layer of mortar covering the bottles and then embed another layer of bottles, evenly spaced. Continue upwards until you reach the desired height. T For lateral strength, you would need vertical pieces of re-bar tied to or embedded in the foundation.The bottles could be laid in the mortar alternating neck and bottom on each layer or all oriented the same direction. The mortar woulld fill in the space between the adjacent bot-tles. [Do it yourself,2009]

    c. Main Materials

    A building construction style which usually uses 1l glass bot-tles (although mason jars, 1/2l glass jugs, ... may be used as well) as masonry units and binds them using adobe, sand, cement, stucco, clay, plaster, mortar or any other joint com-pound to result in an intriguing stained-glass like wall.

  • Tips for construction / 40


    A typical mortar mix is 3:1 mason sand to a pozzalan (fly ash) cement mix. Other mixtures could be made from mortar and clay, adobe, cob, sand or cement. Bottle walls are extremely versatile and could be bonded with pretty much anything that can endure its given climate.Mix 1 part cement to 3 part sand mortar for the first course of bottles that will go into your wall. Ensure the joints are at least the width of your thumb all around the bottle.

    e: Reinforce the Wall

    When you reach the third course of your wall, you can now lay wire to reinforce the cement. You will need to repeat this procedure at every third course. This will ensure that your wall will be strong and sturdy.

    5.6 C a r b o n F o o t p r i n t

    Since the bottle is reused for many times and finally it lands in the construc-tion site , the energy of the bottle is amortized for the complete life . So literally, no waste of energy. Only energy used in collecting and transporta-tion of these bottles is considered. In this way a bottle is effectively used and is environment friendly. The other building materials used along with glass bottles like mortar steel bars might add up to the CO2 footprint value.

  • C O N C L U S I O N B I B L I O G R A P H Y

    With the amount of information, the manual would have given some insights about bottle construction. So it is really important to be clear of what one is going to achieve by doing bottle construction. One should understand the im-portance of re uses and the amount of energy saving that could be possible. The awareness towards re use should be spread socially and greater improvement could be possible only by working together as a society. In the future years to come, this could bring in a revolutionary change. The best way to make people follow this is to show people with new reuse possibilities with bottles.

    Since the case studies covered a wide range of projects based on the properties of glass, it will be easy to relate one s idea. You would be surprised to know about the bottle construction being followed all over the globe. So adding new ideas and making changes would be a step to inno-vation. The tips provided for the bottle construction would make you prepared with all the basic information you need to know as a designer. So now its your chance to react for the furnished information. There are still enormous pos-sibilities which are untouched in bottle construction. So a contextual thinking would spark new ideas and can be shaped uniquely.

    The manual has been prepared to trigger the reader and make him think. Hope the ideas and the facts would find a place in your memory. So this does not stop here , whatever ideas that strikes in relation to these projects must be trans-lated immediately , so it keeps you on the process.

    41 / Conclusion

  • B I B L I O G R A P H Y


    Michiel Haas ; Lecture on Materials in Future (NIBE) ; In : TU Delft faculty , 28th Feb. 2011.

    Friends of Glass 1; Nature- How Glass is made ,on website :, 2008

    Tammy L Hayer .,Anthony Lame & Richard Lehman ;Glass Beverage Bottle Processing Glass containers ,in : Herbert F Lund (ed), The MCGraw Hill Recycling Handbook (13.8-13.11); McGraw- Hill publishing, New York,2000 FEVE 1 (The European Container Glass Federation); Glass Packaging & Sustainability - Glass recycling re-duces CO2 ,on website :, 2000

    FEVE 2 (The European Container Glass Federation); Glass Packaging & Sustainability - Glass is 100% recyclable and infinitely so ,on website : ,2000

    FEVE 3 (The European Container Glass Federation); Statistics - Glass Containers - Production in Europe,on website : ,2000

    GPI (Glass packaging Institute); Recycle Glass- Recycling and the Environment , on website :

    All recycling-Facts; Reduce Reuse Recycle- Waste Hierarchy , on website : ,2009

    FEVE 4 (The European Container Glass Federation); Glass Packaging & Sustainability Reuse ,on website : ,2000Reuse Glass Bottles; Why is reusing better than recycling? , on website : ,2009

    T E C H N I C A L S P E C I F I C A T I O N

    ROYMECH ; Useful table matters - Glass , on website : ,2010

    CES EDUPACK ;Material Universe- Glass- Soda Lime Glass Properties , on Software CES EDUACK by GRANTA Designs, 2010

    Emilio D. Spinosa ; Issues and Opportunities in the Development of High Strength Glass Containers - Surface Strength Of Glass Containers , on website : ,Published online : PacRim 2009 Special Session on 4 th June ,2009.

    Bibliography / 42

  • C A S E S T U D Y A N D A N A L Y S I S



    INHABITAT ; HEINEKEN WOBO: A Beer Bottle That Doubles as a Brick , , on website :,2011 Glass quarterly, Glass Curiosities: Dutch beer barons unrealized green dream of bottle as building block. On website k/ , 30 Aug, 2009

    Anneke , The House of a Thousand Headaches- BUTCH BEER BOTTLE , on website : , 2009


    Inhabitat, Thai Temple Built From One Million Recycled Bottles , on website :, 2011

    Will Barnes, A Buddhist Temple made out of Beer Bottles ,on website :, 1st Dec, 2010

    Dailymail, The Buddhist temple built using 1.5million recycled beer bottles , on website :, 18th Feb ,2009.



    Attar, Solar Heat storage - Storage Materials ,on website : ,1997

    Alex Wilson , THERMAL STORAGE WALL DESIGN MANUAL Mass wall , on website : , 1999


    Sources: Ananova, KK STreetuse , Solar Energy & Solar Power- DIY: Beer Bottle Solar Water Heater, on website : , 2007

    43 / Bibliography



    Jose Vaz Pinto , Pulses - Ingenius solar power lamps , on website : , 22 nd April , 2008

    I N S T A L L A T I O N

    Nico Saieh , The Blatz / Johnsen Schmaling Architects, on website : , 3o th Sep , 2009.

    T I P F O R B O T T L E C O N S T R U C T I O N

    Doityourself , Build a Glass Bottle Wall , on website : , 2009

    Bibliography / 44