UBC Undergraduate Research

An investigation into Rapidly Renewable Materials : bamboo and cotton Jafarian, Mohammad Hassan; Ying-udomrat, Thanet (Vic); Huang, Xiao Xian (Tiffany); Chen, Howard Hao

Abstract

Sustainable development requires the utilization of renewable resources. Renewable resources, whether it is energy or material, are the ones that can be regenerated within a short period time. Rapidly Renewable Materials (RRMs) are examples of such resources. RRMs are plant based materials that can be renewed within 10 years. Bamboo and cotton are two examples of available RRMs. These two materials can be used as an alternative to their commonly used construction materials in the new Student Union Building on UBC campus. Bamboo is a type of grass with extremely fast growth rate. The average time it takes for bamboo to reach maturity is 5 years. It can be used for flooring, wall covering, ceiling and furniture. Triple bottom line analysis shows that economically, it is much cheaper to purchase and recycle bamboo compared to its competitors such as Steel, Azobe and Robina. Environmentally, it can grow fast and absorb a considerable amount of CO₂ and produce Oxygen. It can also restore the degraded lands because its litter feeds the top soil of the land where it grows and its recycling process is environmentally friendly. Socially, it offers a variety of new job opportunities and green communities. There are some local suppliers of bamboo in Canada and hence it can be used in the new Student Union Building. Cotton is a plant and its fibers are commonly used in clothing industry. However, cotton fibers can also be used as a good insulating material in building construction. Triple bottom line analysis of cotton shows that economically, it is less costly to purchase and implement cotton based insulators compared to its chemically produced competitors. Environmentally, if it is produced organically, not only it preserves the animal habitat and different insect species, but also it has a very limited foot print in terms of water consumption with only 2.6% of the global water use compared to other agricultural products. Socially, cotton can produce variety of green jobs and also alleviate health concerns compared to chemically produced insulators. Local suppliers of cotton insulators are available in Canada and therefore it can be implemented in the new Student Union Building on UBC campus. 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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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 Canada

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