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Pafcal – an alternative to natural soil


Every once in a while the Japanese make a discovery that rocks the world. Well, if not the whole world than the world of horticulture at least. The latest advancement is Pafcal (fake soil), that has been developed by a Japanese company called Suntory. Pafcal is basically a urethane based product that resembles soil in almost every way, but weighs only half the weight of natural soil. This came up as a solution for a problem that the Japanese are having in big cities (mostly Tokyo), where soil is used on roofs to provide heat insulation. Since natural soil can prove to be heavy for this job, especially since Tokyo is built upon “shaky” grounds prone to earthquakes, pafcal was the perfect way to by-pass the weight problem. Plant growth on roofs with this new soil can reduce roof temperatures by about 10 degrees C (18 F), and bring a little life to an otherwise lifeless atmosphere of concrete and steel.

Luckily, it’s not that warm in the UK 🙂 , but roof gardens are definitely interesting, and fake soil will certainly make it a lot easier to put some green on the old roof. We’re definitely looking into this further. If it proves economic and ecological, you may see pafcal in your office plant pots in the future.


This entry was posted on Monday, March 3rd, 2008 at 1:19 pm and is filed under Ecological. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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