Use of eco-friendly materials is not new to the building materials industry. In fact, there is even a mechanism to track the level of ‘green’ a building achieves through the LEED certification process. High demand for wood fiber-reinforced composites for use in decking, fencing, molding, and trim makes the construction materials industry the largest user of biocomposites in the U.S. Wood fiber-reinforced composites are considered desirable substitutes for wood in these applications due to their low maintenance costs and resistance to weathering, stains, and warping. While more expensive than treated wood, they are relatively inexpensive compared to other fiber-reinforced composites. The North American market for wood plastic composites reached 1.1 million tons of output in 2012 and is currently growing at an annual rate of approximately 8-13%.
Non-wood natural fibers, such as those produced by Susbntrand, can be used in these application as well as substitutes for many of the wood-fiber composite currently being used in building materials. However there are many other opportunities to use non-wood natural fibers in the building industry.
- Bathtubs and shower walls
- Fiber Reinforced (polymer) Panels (FRP)
- Privacy dividers and translucent accent panels
- Fiber reinforced concrete counters and siding