International Bamboo and Rattan Organization

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Environmental impacts of bamboo-based construction materials representing global production diversity













Bamboo; Uncertainty; Variability; Life cycle assessment; Construction

Using bamboo-based construction materials has been identified as a potential way of reducing pressure on resources and on the environment. These materials have environmental and mechanical advantages over conventional construction materials. In the present research, the life cycle assessment of five bamboo-based construction materials was carried out: bamboo pole, flattened bamboo, woven bamboo mat, glue laminated bamboo and woven bamboo mat panels. The main objective of the present research is to develop a series of life cycle assessment data that can represent the diversity found in the global production of bamboo-based construction materials. This research also aims to present a simplified and cost effective approach to developing this kind of data while maintaining its quality. The results show that the environmental impacts of the studied materials grow with increased industrialization and that electricity mixture and heat energy sources contribute most to the variability of the results. It was found out that the species of bamboo and harvesting practices do not make a significant contribution to the overall environmental impact of bamboo-based construction materials. It was also found out that, in general, the processes contributing most to environmental impact are not always the most significant contributors to the variability of the result. It was possible to establish a relationship between the processes contributing to the variability of the results and the results’ uncertainty. In this way, it was demonstrated that it is possible to identify the main processes contributing to the variability of the results and that by improving the quality of this data the overall uncertainty of the results can be reduced. Thus, the proposed approach can be successfully used to assess the environmental impact of non-conventional materials with a high degree of accuracy in a cost-effective way. (C) 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.