Invention, design and performance of coconut agrowaste fiberboards for ecologically efficacious buildings

Lokko, Mae-ling Jovenes
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Crembil, Gustavo
Rempel, Alexandra
Dyson, Anna H.
Egalsh, Ron
Nyman, Marianne
Braasch, Jonas
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Architectural sciences
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As global quantities of waste by-products from food production as well as the range of their applications increase, researchers are realizing critical opportunities to transform the burden of underutilized wastes into ecological profits. Within the tropical hot-humid region, where half the world’s current and projected future population growth is concentrated, there is a dire demand for building materials to meet ambitious development schemes and rising housing deficits. However, the building sector has largely overlooked the potential of local agricultural wastes to serve as alternatives to energy-intensive, imported building technologies. Industrial ecologists have recently investigated the use of agrowaste biocomposites to replace conventional wood products that use harmful urea-formaldehyde, phenolic and isocyanate resins. Furthermore, developments in the performance of building material systems with respect to cost, energy, air quality management and construction innovation have evolved metrics about what constitutes material ‘upcycling’ within building life cycle. While these developments have largely been focused on technical and cost performance, much less attention has been paid to addressing deeply-seated social and cultural barriers to adoption that have sedimented over decades of importation.
December 2016
School of Architecture
School of Architecture
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY
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