Name: HSIANG EN SHIH
Tutor: Christina Cogdell
Course: DES 40A, Winter 2013
Topic: Research paper
Wastes and Emissions of the Full Process / Bamboo Eco-Friendly Flooring
Climatic changes in the globe have led to the introduction of environmental friendly measures in various fields of human development. In architecture, these measures have been utilized to determine the most eco-friendly materials for use in the construction. In this study, various aspects of bamboo flooring are evaluated. These aspects are mainly the energy embodiment of the materials used for interior decorations, the sustainability of materials used, the environmental effect of using these materials and the type of wastes these materials generate (Binggeli 25-26). In addition, this paper evaluates the suitability of bamboo flooring based on its durability as compared to other wooden materials used in flooring.
Modern day construction techniques have introduced various measures to curb pollution within the globe. This has been made necessary by the increased climatic changes and declining sources of raw materials. Through application of measures such as energy embodiment, designers are able to choose materials that have minimal impacts on the environment. With the help of such measures, architectural designs have facilitated the development of eco-friendly buildings; thus, they are participating in environmental restoration. In this study, emphasis is placed on the evaluation of construction materials and their resultant contribution to environmental conservation.
Raw Materials used in Bamboo Flooring
Bamboo flooring was first introduced in ancient China where the bamboo plant grows adequately. This technique was later introduced in other parts of the world. During the inception of the green building industry, the technique was adopted due to its superior features when compared to other materials. These superior aspects included relatively low costs, minimal environmental destruction upon harvesting, and availability of material due to higher rates of development when compared to materials like wood (Roberts 12-20).
Raw materials used to develop bamboo floors are harvested from the bamboo plant at the age of around six months and at a height of about four meters. However, these raw materials can be utilized when the density is higher; as a result, there is developing a much harder floor. Majority of raw materials in the globe are extracted from East Asian countries where these plants are part of the natural vegetation (Masters 18-29).
Raw bamboo is acquired from various producers and agents around the globe. Upon acquisition, these raw materials are cut into small strips, which undergo a number of chemical activated processes to manufacture products that can be utilized in the development of flooring materials. The process involved in development of these materials generates a number of waste substances in the form of liquid, gaseous and solid wastes. Liquid wastes mainly include water utilized in boiling these raw materials to extract starch, and for the general purposes of cleaning the products. Secondly, solid wastes produced at the raw material acquisition and development stage include low quality materials, poorly cut pieces of bamboo and chemical wastes from the processing stage. Gaseous wastes also generated at the raw material development stage. These gaseous wastes include toxic fumes generated from processing stages and vehicle exhaust fumes, produced when transporting the material to the processing zones (Thompson and Sorvig 45-55)
Raw materials from bamboo plants are usually preferred to other materials such of timber and concrete due to their availability, sustainability, their rapid renewability, and their ability to be recycled. Recycling of bamboo material after it becomes worn-out involved a number of stages. First, this material is removed from the floor of the house. This is followed by auctioning to a licensed buyer. The material is then ground into mulch and used to make recycled bamboo flooring (Roberts 23-26).
Raw materials for bamboo flooring are usually boiled with a great amount of glues and chemical for a number of reasons. These reasons include, changing the color of the final product, removing sugars that attract termites, removing starch that makes these raw materials hard to mould and preventing expansion and contraction of the floors when fitted in humid areas. These processes convert organic bamboo material into a long lasting material hence making it suitable for modern interior designs (Kibert 28).
After refinement and grading, bamboo materials are utilized in creation of a number of floor designs. These designs include the strand woven, vertical and horizontal bamboo flooring designs. In the vertical bamboo flooring design, narrow strips of a plant are usually glued together to create a vertical design pattern on the bamboo floor. This is then completed using a thin layer of lamination on the bamboo material. Upon completion, this material usually has a smooth and uniform look that is essential for interior designs (Binggeli 65-68). Secondly, the horizontal bamboo design is developed when the wider surfaces are glued together to create a horizontal appearance on the product. Through this technique, the flooring material displays the growth rings on the bamboo material. This feature adds value and appeal when fitted in various structures (Thompson and Sorvig 44-46). In addition, the strand woven design of bamboo flooring is also created. This design is made when waste pieces from other bamboo flooring designs are glued together. Th e later explains the efficiency of this technique since minimal wastes are generated. The design is superior to other designs since it creates a floor with intricate patterns and ornaments, it is more durable than the rest, and it can be refined to be resistant to ultra violet right. The resistance to ultra violet right makes it suitable for outdoor flooring (Howlett, Jain, and Lee 66-80).
Kibert (50) contends that embodied energy refers to the total energy consumed in the lifecycle of a construction material. This energy is consumed from the extraction of raw materials to the final consumption of the product. The value of energy embodied in a product reveals its sustainability. This concept has been introduced in architectural studies to ensure that green energy concepts are fully implemented hence promoting environmental sustainability within the globe.
Embodied energy in bamboo flooring is subdivided into two forms. These include initial embodied energy and recurring embodied energy. Binggeli (75-78) argues that initial embodied energy in buildings refers to all non-renewable energy consumed during the process of acquisition of raw materials, through processing, transportation to construction sites and during construction. Initial embodied energy in bamboo flooring is divided into two components. These components include direct and indirect energy. Indirect energy in bamboo flooring refers to all energy consumed in processing the raw materials for this product while direct energy refers to all energy utilized in transporting bamboo-flooring material to the construction sites. According to Bonda and Sosnowchik (34-44), recurring embodied energy in fitting bamboo floors refers to all non-renewable energy consumed in refurbishing and servicing of this type of floor.
In architectural studies, construction of energy efficient houses requires that the ratio of embodied energy to the lifetime of consumption increases, hence promoting suitable energy utilization (Kibert 88). This energy is usually measured as a quantity of nonrenewable energy per unit of building material. In many cases, the energy is joules per unit weight of bamboo flooring material. In the process of installing bamboo floors, embodied energy represents the overall environmental impact of using the materials in interior finishing. This measure indicates the environmental impact of this method of flooring because it includes the following variables; the implications of resource exploitation, greenhouse gases generated the reduction of biodiversity and the environmental degradation.
According to Bassler (67-78), the concept of embodied energy in construction has a number of benefits. First, the concepts of embodied energy in development of bamboo floors are essential in evaluating the environmental consequences of utilizing this material. This benefit enables construction managers to identify suitable suppliers for environmental friendly bamboo materials for flooring. In addition, this evaluation enables architectures that are conscious of eco-friendly concepts to adopt products that have been accredited as safe for interior finishing. Secondly, the embodied energy concept enables various construction teams to choose materials that do not generate a lot of waste during the fitting and recycling process. This would facilitate efficiency in construction, thus reducing overall construction costs (Thompson and Sorvig 67-78).
Embodied energy concepts are also beneficial in determining what extent of recycled material that should be used to reduce the carbon content is shown by the inventory on carbon energy. This knowledge on the materials used and their alternatives is essential in guiding suitable decision making during cost benefit analysis in the project. In addition, through the inventory on carbon energy various projects can be compared to the ideal standards; hence, enabling the identification of suitable strategies that will facilitate environmental sustainability.
Eco-friendly Bamboo Flooring
Bamboo flooring can be evaluated in a number of ways to ensure that the embodied energy in this process is greatly reduced. Evaluation of embodied energy in bamboo flooring considers a number of activities involved in the process. These processes include recycling, raw material acquisition, waste management, and the use of the materials.
According to Bonda and Sosnowchik (99-115), the amount of energy consumed in fitting bamboo floors can be reduced to enhance the contribution of this technology in environmental restoration. Carbon, emitted during fitting can be reduced by using efficient equipments that utilize non-carbon based energy sources. These will facilitate the development of eco-friendly projects. In addition, various procedures used in the creation of flooring materials can be evaluated to ensure that their contribution to environmental degradation is reversed. For instance, companies involved in processing of bamboo materials used during flooring, should employ silenced machines and gas purification technologies to reduce their contribution to environmental degradation.
Adequate recycling measures in construction can also be utilized in reducing the amount of energy consumed in various projects. For instance, during construction waste metal pieces can be sold to licensed recycling plants. In such a way they will avail metal for use without consuming energy through the extraction process. This technique is essential in preventing resource wastage and creation of energy wasting landfills within society (Roberts 89-99). Recycling of bamboo floor materials also facilitates conserving of the environment since various nutrients extracted from the soil during the growth of raw materials are retained. This results to efficiency, hence reducing environmental degradation that results from construction activities.
Waste management is another section that can facilitate in enhancing the positive contribution of eco-friendly construction to the environment. In the process of creating and utilizing bamboo materials, various wastes are generated. These wastes include bamboo leaves, bamboo pieces, and liquids used during processing. These materials can be managed through number of processes; therefore, the amount of embodied energy consumed in creating bamboo-flooring material will be reduced. First, bamboo leaves produced at the harvesting stage can be left to rot in the bamboo farms; thus, availing nutrients consumed by other plants on the farm. In addition, various waste pieces generated during the process of creating flooring materials can be utilized in developing the strand woven flooring materials;thus, preventing the loss of scarce resources. Moreover, these materials can be utilized in heating up boilers used in processing the bamboo products. This will help to enhance the position of bamboo floors on the embodied energy scale (Masters78-99).
During the process of developing products used in bamboo flooring, water is utilized in boiling the raw materials to remove starch. After de-starching, these waste liquids should be treated adequately to ensure that they do not pollute water bodies; hence, contributing to environmental degradation. This process is essential in promoting eco-friendly projects within the construction sector.
The introduction of eco-friendly techniques in the construction of houses is an important initiative towards reducing environmental degradation. Through eco-friendly concepts, new materials have been introduced into construction. One of these materials is bamboo flooring. Utilization of this material in the preparation of suitable floors has facilitated the reduction of pollution caused by construction projects since it holds less embodied energy. In addition, this form of flooring can be designed in numerous ways thus, enhancing efficient utilization of raw materials.
Bassler, Bruce L. Architectural Graphic Standards: Student Edition. Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley & Sons, 2008. Internet resource.
Binggeli, Corky. Building Systems for Interior Designers. Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley & Sons, 2010. Print.
Bonda, Penny, and Katie Sosnowchik. Sustainable Commercial Interiors. Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley & Sons, 2007. Print.
Howlett, Robert J, L C. Jain, and Shaun H. Lee. Sustainability in Energy and Buildings: Proceedings of the International Conference in Sustainability in Energy and Buildings (seb '09). Berlin: Springer, 2010. Print.
Kibert, Charles J. Sustainable Construction: Green Building Design and Delivery. Hoboken, N.J: John Wiley & Sons, 2013. Internet resource.
Masters, Neal. Sustainable Use of New and Recycled Materials in Coastal and Fluvial Construction: A Guidance Manual. London: Thomas Telford, 2001. Print.
Roberts, Jennifer. Good Green Kitchens: The Ultimate Resource for Creating a Beautiful, Healthy, Eco-Friendly Kitchen. Layton, Utah: Gibbs Smith, 2006. Print.
Thompson, J W, and Kim Sorvig. Sustainable Landscape Construction: A Guide to Green Building Outdoors. Washington, DC [u.a.: Island, 2000. Print.