By Steve Graham, Networx
Green building and construction does not need to stop with bamboo flooring. Bio-composites, or biodegradable composites, are the next generation of sustainable building materials. They combine plant fibers with natural resins and binders to make roof sheathing, fences, fireproof doors, and more. Traditional construction materials are energy- and resource-intensive. Buildings account for 40 percent of landfill waste, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Bio-composites and other sustainable building materials help eliminate non-renewable waste, reduce raw material usage, and cut fossil-fuel consumption.
Many bio-composites use recycled materials or fast-growing plant fibers. In turn, they are recyclable or are designed to rapidly decompose. Bio-composites typically use natural binding agents, reducing the need for petrochemicals or other fossil-fuel products. Even more fuel is saved in the transportation of lightweight, locally sourced bio-composites. Like other sustainable building materials, bio-composites also help builders and homeowners earn Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification. The stamp of approval for green building and construction, LEED-rated buildings may also qualify for rebates and tax credits.