UBC Undergraduate Research

An investigation into the use of linoleum and hemp in the new SUB : a triple bottom line assessment Bergen, Kevin; Moe, Keenan; Lets, Lekuku; Li, Lucy


As the campaign for sustainable housing increases globally and across UBC, the demand for rapidly renewable resources rises. There is a swift increase in the number of new buildings, including the new Student Union Building’s Platinum+ goal, that are aiming to achieve various Canada Green Building Council’s LEED certifications(Canadian Green Building Council). The purpose of this study is to conduct a triple-­‐bottom line analysis on linoleum and hemp, with specific focus on hempcrete, to determine whether these constituents are viable rapidly renewable building materials suitable for use in the new SUB. This paper includes extensive journal research, primary data collection in the forms of surveys and interviews, and secondary data compilation such as government videos, blogs, and various other sources. From an environmental perspective, both linoleum and hemp can be harvested with relative ease, and are greenhouse gas emissions neutral and negative, respectively. There are minimal usage of pesticides and toxic chemicals during the production and maintenance phase. Each material is biodegradable so waste sent to landfills does not negatively impact the environment. Moreover, from an economic standpoint, linoleum is one of the cheapest rapidly renewable materials available, while hemp despite its initial high production price is highly subsidized, thereby driving the domestic prices down. The low operation and maintenance cost of each material makes them great economic solutions for extended lifetimes. Lastly, the social impacts of choosing linoleum and hempcrete are notable. Not only do linoleum and hemp encourage the growth of local producers, leading to a rise in local employment, but they also create a comfortable and aesthetically pleasing environment for the occupants. Linoleum and hemp are both very durable and therefore, resistant to demanding conditions over a long time period. This radically reduces the required maintenance work, and lends these materials to be very effective in high traffic locations. Based on the findings from the triple-­‐bottom line analysis, it is determined that linoleum and hemp are both exceptional materials that exceed the LEED’s rapidly renewable material requirement. However, because neither material can be obtained locally within the 500 mile radius, the local criteria cannot be met. 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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