Rapidly Renewable Materials

Rapidly renewable materials are natural, non-petroleum-based building materials (petroleum based materials are non-renewable) that have harvest cycles under 10 years.

Free LEED Green Associate ExamRapidly Renewable Materials and LEED

Materials and Resources Credit 6, Rapidly Renewable Materials, awards 1 point to projects that uses rapidly renewable materials for at least 2.5% of all building materials used on the project, based on cost. LEED considers these materials to have harvest cycles of ten years or less.

Such materials include:
• bamboo
• cork

• straw

• cotton insulation (recycled jeans?)
• agrifiber

• natural linoleum (Marmoleum)
• wool

• wheatboard

• strawboard

So, for example, let’s say a project uses a particle board with rapidly renewable fiber, and that fiber makes up 50% of the board. If the total value of the particle board for the project is $30,000, then the cost of the rapidly renewable material in the particleboard is $30,000 x (0.5) = $15,000.

Examples of Rapidly Renewable Materials

1. Marmoleum

Marmoleum, the most popular brand of linoleum flooring, is made by Forbo Flooring Systems, which owns over 60% of the market share for linoleum. Marmoleum, which is available for a wide range of commercial and residential applications, is easy to maintain, long-lasting, non-toxic, and made from biological materials.

The flooring is SMaRT certified because it meets standards set by the Institute for Market Transformation to Sustainability’s for sustainable products. Products that meet these standards have performed a life cycle analysis, which proves its level of sustainability. Plus, projects that use SMaRT certified projects may be able to garner an Innovation in Design point - a Credit Interpretation Ruling in July 2007 allowed it.

2. Kirei Wheatboard

Kirei’s interior design products are sustainable, non-toxic, and made from a variety of responsibly sourced materials, such as bamboo, wheatboard, reclaimed wood, hemp, coconut shells, and wood substitute.

The company’s wheatboard is a medium-density fiberboard (MDF) substitute that is made from rapidly renewable material with at least 90% pre-consumer recycled content. Wood MDF is usually made with urea formaldehyde, which offgases and negatively affects indoor air quality, but Kirei wheatboard does not contain the chemical. The product is versatile, and can be used for projects including architectural millwork, wall coverings, retail displays, furniture, cabinetry, and flooring.

3. Ambient Bamboo Flooring

Ambient, founded in 2005, offers high quality bamboo flooring made with A-grade Moso bamboo. This species of bamboo has harvest cycle of 5-7 years, making it rapidly renewable. It has low or no formaldehyde, with the typical flooring ranging from 0.01-0.03 ppm, and zero formaldehyde available for special order.

Four models of Ambient’s flooring can contribute to LEED certification: classic, strand-woven, click-lock HDF, and hand scraped strand. These can all be specified as FSC-certified, which will contribute to Materials and Resources Credit 8, Certified Wood.

The company’s floors have been featured on HGTV and have been installed stores like Lululemon Athletica and Underarmour.

4. Stramit Wheat Straw Agrifiber Board

Texas-based Stramit USA uses excess wheat straw from harvest, which would normally be tilled back into the soil or burned, to manufacture Compressed Agricultural Fiber (CAF) Board. The board is melded under high heat and pressure, which makes the board strong without the use of adhesives. This means that it does not offgas VOCs or contain formaldehyde. It is also nearly fireproof, non-toxic, carbon negative, and mold and pest resistant. Its energy efficient, with R values ranging from 6 to 25, and sound absorbent, with STC ranging from 33-66.

Very versatile, CAF board can be used to replace numerous building materials, including MDF, gypsum board, particle board, soundproofing panels, and fiberglass insulation. This means it can be used in a variety of applications, from SIPs, to furniture, to kit houses, to soundproofing. It is available in various thicknesses and widths, making it suitable for these diverse projects.

Stramit USA’s CAFboard is distributed in North America, Central America and the Carribean, though Stramit UK distributes it in Europe.

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