In the United Kingdom and France, efforts to reduce the carbon footprint of the construction industry has led several universities to assess the insulation capabilities of waste and biobased materials, including wheat straw bales, rapeseed stalks, and recycled duvets.
The University of Bath, University of Brighton, UniLaSalle in Rouen, France, and five other partners are involved in the project, which is is funded by Interreg VA France (Channel) England. The UK aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the construction industry by 50% by 2025.
“Our previous research has shown the performance of straw bales as a sustainable and energy efficient building material, however, there are a number of other waste and co-products which could also perform well as construction materials,” Professor of Innovative Construction Materials at the University of Bath, Pete Walker tells ECN Magazine. “The opportunity to exploit these waste and agricultural co-products is not something that should be ignored, and we are hopeful that if their thermal performance is comparable or better than current insulation, industry will think seriously about using the materials in future construction.”