In Italy, the cases of Industrial Symbiosis in the construction sector continue making progress by using the by-products from the agri-food sector, strengthening the synergy between two of the most important national production sectors: Construction and Food. Thus, in a territory with a strong vocation for rice production such as Biella (Piemonte Region), the start-up RiceHouse was born. After observing the waste from the rice fields, destined to be burnt because they were unsuitable for animal feed, the architect Tiziana Monterisi has analysed the straw characteristics and worked on it, to find the suitable use of it in the construction process. Beyond the successful insulating capacity assured by rice derivates in buildings, which is an ideal material formaldehyde-free for both reconstructions and new constructions, the RiceHouse Industrial Symbiosis project makes it possible to renovate the traditional local agriculture cluster, suffering to be no longer so profitable as a result of rice import from international markets.
In this way, the raw materials are taken from the environment, transformed, used, disposed of, and re-introduced into the environment from which they were taken. And in some cases, as the RiceHouse case demonstrates, their management becomes an economic activity capable of supporting the industrial chain and anticipate innovative answers to emerging new waste management needs. The innovative drive of this start-up has been recognised nationally and internationally: RiceHouse won the Good Energy Award in the Real Estate category, the Sustainable Development Award 2018, competed in the Sustainable Building category, and won the ING Challenge 2019, an initiative dedicated to the green economy as a driver of innovation and development.