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Technical Note: A PRELIMINARY STUDY TO QUANTIFY THE ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACTS OF CONCRETE AND CORK FLOORING

Rodrigo Salles e Portugal, Brent Lawrence, Paul Frederik Laleicke, Arijit Sinha

Abstract


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.

 

 

 


Keywords


: LCA, sustainable, renewable, flooring, cork, cement, CLT

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