Make Muck Into Affordable Housing Bricks, Elon Musk Suggests
Electric vehicle and space shot mogul Elon Musk recently took to Twitter to assert that he is going to use Boring Co. dirt to create bricks for low-cost housing. Boring Co. is a less-well-known Musk operation that is creating tunnels to move commuters more quickly around the LA area.
A Boring Co. representative confirmed the plans, Bloomberg reports. The bricks will come from the excavations that Boring Co. is doing in Hawthorne, California, on Space Exploration Technologies Corp. land, and possibly later from other excavations.
The bricks-for-low-cost-housing idea has not yet been publicly fleshed out by Musk or Boring Co. It is an extension of what the Boring Co. says on its website about bricks, which does not mention low-cost housing.
"The Boring Company is investigating technologies that will recycle the earth into useful bricks to be used to build structures. This is not a new concept..." the company said.
"These bricks can potentially be used as a portion of the tunnel lining itself, which is typically built from concrete. Since concrete production accounts for 4.5% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, earth bricks would reduce both environmental impact and tunneling costs."
The Boring Co.'s stated goal is to make tunneling more efficient and create a better alternative when it comes to routing vehicles. That would lessen surface congestion.
Musk made the tweet about low-cost housing in answer to prodding in a tweet by humorist Cody Johnson, who mocked Musk for saying that he is starting a candy company.
Musk did not waste much time in answering Johnston's gibe.
The Boring Company will be using dirt from tunnel digging to create bricks for low cost housing— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 7, 2018
The new tweet seemed to add a twist to Musk's announcement in a March tweet that he was going to sell "LEGO-like interlocking" bricks that could stand up to California earthquakes.
New Boring Company merch coming soon. Lifesize LEGO-like interlocking bricks made from tunneling rock that you can use to create sculptures & buildings. Rated for California seismic loads, so super strong, but bored in the middle, like an aircraft wing spar, so not heavy.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 26, 2018
He also referred to the bricks as "Boring Company merch," which implied that they would be along the lines of the hats and flamethrowers that the company previously sold to fund itself.
It isn't clear how Lego-like bricks would ease the housing crisis in California or other places. Material costs, while an important component in new housing, are only part of the equation, with labor and regulatory compliance being expensive components as well.
A 2016 National Association of Homebuilders study found that, on average, regulations imposed by government at all levels account for 24.3% of the final price of a new single-family home built for sale.