Bamboo Flooring Panels Green Building and LEED

Bamboo Flooring Panels Green Building and LEED

3 Bamboo Flooring and Panels for Green Building and LEED

Product Review provided by: Claire Moloney, Cornell University

Product Review

According to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system, «rapidly renewable building materials and products are made from plants that are typically harvested within a 10-year or shorter cycle».

Bamboo is a prime example of a rapidly renewable material, because it is one of the fastest growing plants in the world. Therefore, using bamboo is considered «sustainable» because it reduces resource depletion.

The following three companies manufacture bamboo flooring and/or panels that can be used for green building and LEED:

Ambient is a supplier of high-quality bamboo flooring.

Founded in 2005, Ambient’s flooring (picture) has been featured on HGTV and can be found in stores like Lululemon Athletica and Underarmour. Ambient has also been featured as one of Inc. 5000’s fastest growing companies.

Ambient offers four types of flooring that meet LEED standards: classic, strand-woven, click-lock HDF, and hand scraped strand.

All four types of Ambient bamboo floor are rapidly renewable, because they are made of A-grade Moso bamboo, which can be harvested in 5-7 years. All four types of flooring can also be specified as certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), meaning it is sustainably harvested.

Their flooring also has very low levels of formaldehyde, ranging from 0.01 to 0.03 ppm. This means that they have minimal effects on indoor air quality. Also, zero-formaldehyde flooring is available by special order.

According to Clayton Grow’s previous expert review. Teragren bamboo products are available in many different grain patterns and colors, and can be used for anything from stairs to dining room tables to floors.

These products are rapidly renewable, meaning that rather than cutting up giant trees that took decades or more to reach maturity, these bamboo products are harvested from bamboo plants that are between 5 ½ and 6 years old.

Bamboo removes atmospheric carbon and releases oxygen as a byproduct of this greenhouse gas sequestration. Less than ¼ of the carbon sequestered by the plant is released during the transportation process from Teragren’s factory to anywhere in North America.

Any waste material from the installation of these products can be recycled at construction material recycling centers, which can shred it for use in composting, composite material manufacturing, or as a biofuel. Teragren products are also biodegradable when properly composted.

Teragren products contain low VOCs. They meet the strict VOC emission specifications set forth by US OSHA, European E0, CARB Phase 1 & 2, and Japanese JIS/JAS.

The “FloorScore” labeled products also meet the stringent indoor air emissions requirements of LEED IEQ Credit 4.3: Low-emitting Material – Flooring Systems.

3. Armstrong Woodworks

According to Sarah Gudeman’s previous expert review on Armstrong World Industries. Inc. is a global leader in the design and manufacture of floors, ceilings and cabinets with a focus on innovation, design and environmental sustainability. Based in Lancaster, PA, the company operates 35 plants in nine countries and has approximately 10,200 employees worldwide.

Bamboo Flooring Panels Green Building and LEED

Armstrong offers bamboo panels. which can be used for ceilings. Aside from being rapidly renewable, some Armstrong WoodWorks bamboo ceiling products may be considered «Regional Material», depending on the LEED project location.

Ceiling panels are 2’x2’ with Tegular edge details, Vector edge details, or in Linear planks. They are available with the standard, bamboo patine finish or the premium bamboo native finish (both available perforated and un-perforated). An acoustical option that includes infill with a perforated panel is available as well.

Armstrong Woodworks ceiling panels and WoodWorks custom suspension systems include a one year warranty.

LEED Credit Overview

Bamboo flooring and/or panels can contribute to LEED in the Materials and Resources (MR) and Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) credit categories of the LEED for New Construction rating system.

MR Credit 6. Rapidly Renewable Materials (1 point)

This credit requires that 2.5% of the value of all building materials is “rapidly renewable”. Since bamboo is a rapidly renewable material, all of these products can contribute to this credit.

MR Credit 7. Certified Wood (1 point)

This credit requires that 50% (based on cost) of wood-based materials are certified by the FSC. Teragren, Armstrong Woodworks, and Ambient all offer FSC-certified options.


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