Technical Note: A PRELIMINARY STUDY TO QUANTIFY THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF CONCRETE AND CORK FLOORING
Keywords:, LCA, sustainable, renewable, flooring, cork, cement, CLT
Cross-laminated timber (CLT) is currently sought as a sustainable and green building material. It does not meet the International Building Code sound insulating requirements, and either a concrete slab or hardwood flooring is needed to meet the acoustic and vibrational performance benchmark. Cork, the bark of the cork oak, is well known for its sound insulating properties and often used for flooring applications in Europe. The cork-based flooring system is a potential solution to the acoustic problem faced by the CLT building industry. The goal of this preliminary study was to quantify the environmental impacts of a concrete and a cork-based flooring system that includes CLT. A life-cycle analysis (LCA) is conducted to focus on a cradle-to-gate comparison of a cork flooring system with a locally sourced concrete flooring system for use in a proposed CLT structure in Portland, OR. The LCA reveals that the global warming potential (GWP) of concrete is 25% higher for the concrete flooring system. For cork flooring, the GWP is mainly driven by inorganic compounds in the flooring assembly. The main source for cork is Portugal, which increases the GWP of the cork flooring system, in contrast to that of concrete flooring, which typically has a regional production and supply system. As environmental abatement costs increase, the profitability of cork flooring can increase to justify the creation of an appropriate system to close the loop.
APCOR – Products (2016) http://www.apcor.pt/en/products/
(2 May 2017).
Bare J (2011) TRACI 2.0: The tool for the reduction and
assessment of chemical and other environmental impacts
0. Clean Technol Environ Policy 13:687-696.
ClarkDietrich (2015) Environmental product declaration for
ClarkDietrich cold-formed steel products. ClarkDietrich
Building Systems, West Chester, OH. http://info.nsf.org/
Certified/Sustain/ProdCert/EPD10056.pdf (5 March 2017).
Cork Oak Forest Area (2010)Why cork—Corticeira Amorim,
Cork Sector World Leader. From FAO 2010. http://www.
amorim.com/en/why-cork/cork-oak-forest-area/ (7 March
Espinoza O, Trujillo VR, Mallo MFL, Buehlmann U (2016)
Cross-laminated timber: Status and research needs in
Europe. BioResources 11:281-295.
Hsu SL (2010) Life cycle assessment of materials and
construction in commercial structures: Variability and
limitations. Diss. Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
John S, Nebel B, Perez N, Buchanan A (2009) Environmental
impacts of multi-storey buildings using different
construction materials. University of Canterbury, Christchurch,
Karacebeyli E, Douglas B (2013) CLT handbook-US edition.
FPInnovations and Binational Softwood Lumber Council,
Lehmann S (2012) Sustainable construction for urban infill
development using engineered massive wood panel systems.
Liu Y, Guo H, Sun C, Chang W-S (2016) Assessing cross
laminated timber (CLT) as an alternative material for midrise
residential buildings in cold regions in China—A lifecycle
assessment approach. Sustainability 8:1047-1060.
Mallo MFL, Espinoza O (2015) Awareness, perceptions and
willingness to adopt cross-laminated timber by the architecture community in the United States. J Clean Prod
Mestre A, Vogtlander J (2013) Eco-efficient value creation of
cork products: An LCA-based method for design intervention.
J Clean Prod 57:101-114.
NALFA (North American Laminate Flooring Association)
(2012) Understanding IIC&STC sound testing. Pages 1-2.
National Gypsum (2000) Gypsum board systems. National
Gypsum, Charlotte,NC. https://www.nationalgypsum.com/
Nisbet MA, Marceau ML, VanGeem MG (2002) Environmental
life cycle inventory of portland cement concrete. PCA R&D Serial, (2095a).
Normalizacion Organizacion Internacional de (2006) ISO
: Environmental management, life cycle assessment,
requirements and guidelines. International Organization
for Standardization, Geneva, Switzerland.
Pargana N (2012) Environmental impacts of the life cycle of
thermal insulation materials of buildings. Instituto Superior
T´ecnico, Lisboa, Portugal.
Pliteq Inc (2008) Genie Clip—Type RST installation instructions. Pliteq Inc, Vaughan, ON, Canada. http://pliteq.
pdf (5 February 2017).
ReCORK(n.d.) Our History, ReCork, Vancouver, BC, Canada
https://recork.org/us/story (5 January 2017).
Thinkstep Global (2017) Gabi software. Thinkstep Global,
WoodWorks (2013) The Case for Cross Laminated Timber:
Part 2. In WoodWorks for Non-residential Construction.
WoodWorks, Washington, DC.
WoodWorks (2017) in Lockyear S, ed. Fire protection
II—Requirements for rated assemblies and common
detailing. WoodWorks, Washington, DC.
The copyright of an article published in Wood and Fiber Science is transferred to the Society of Wood Science and Technology (for U. S. Government employees: to the extent transferable), effective if and when the article is accepted for publication. This transfer grants the Society of Wood Science and Technology permission to republish all or any part of the article in any form, e.g., reprints for sale, microfiche, proceedings, etc. However, the authors reserve the following as set forth in the Copyright Law:
1. All proprietary rights other than copyright, such as patent rights.
2. The right to grant or refuse permission to third parties to republish all or part of the article or translations thereof. In the case of whole articles, such third parties must obtain Society of Wood Science and Technology written permission as well. However, the Society may grant rights with respect to Journal issues as a whole.
3. The right to use all or part of this article in future works of their own, such as lectures, press releases, reviews, text books, or reprint books.