UBC Undergraduate Research

Rapidly renewable materials : soy and bio-diesel Abeysundara, Navin; Lee, Brian; Gharapetian, Aramazd


The University of British Columbia’s (UBC) is hoping to have its new student union building (SUB) be granted platinum Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification. LEED is a point based system which gives applicants points for meeting certain building criteria. The criteria on which lead points are gained are organized into the following six categories: sustainable sites (SS), water efficiency (WE), energy and atmosphere (EA), materials & resources (MR), indoor environmental quality (EQ), and innovation in design (ID). Using Rapidly Renewable Materials in the construction and furnishing of a building potentially grants points in SS, MR, EQ, ID areas in the LEED system A Triple bottom line analysis was conducted on Soy based spray foam and bio-diesel furnaces. Soy based spray foam and biodiesel furnaces were considered as an option in insulating and heating of the new SUB. Triple bottom line analysis takes into consideration environmental, social, and economic impact of a given project. Following a triple bottom line analysis framework, soy based spray foam insulation is compared with other industry accepted insulations and bio-diesel furnaces are compared to petroleum and natural gas based furnaces. Following the triple bottom line analysis Soy based spray foam insulation was found to be a preferable and viable alternative to any other insulation material commonly used on projects similar to the new SUB. Soy based spray foam R value is directly comparable to the R values of other insulating materials while providing the environmental and social benefits that of an RRM. Bio-diesel furnaces were found to be a suitable alternative to petroleum based and natural gas powered furnaces given the social and environmental benefits. Disclaimer: “UBC SEEDS provides students with the opportunity to share the findings of their studies, as well as their opinions, conclusions and recommendations with the UBC community. The reader should bear in mind that this is a student project/report and is not an official document of UBC. Furthermore readers should bear in mind that these reports may not reflect the current status of activities at UBC. We urge you to contact the research persons mentioned in a report or the SEEDS Coordinator about the current status of the subject matter of a project/report.”

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