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In a time when construction is ranked as one of the world’s least sustainable industries consuming about half of the world’s non-renewable resources (Hinson, 2012), it is important to develop and advance the methods and means by which we select and use building materials and how we design, engineer and construct our architecture. This research aimed to evaluate a method for utilising laminated veneer bamboo (LVB) as a primary structural material in high-rise residential buildings and evaluate the environmental potential of LVB through a comparative life cycle analysis (LCA). The process of life cycle analysis was completed through the development of a Revit® model and utilising the Tally® life cycle assessment application. A comparative LCA, in particular the global warming potential between laminated veneer bamboo and cross laminated timber, was conducted using a case study model of Stadthaus, Murray Grove, London. This 9-story residential building is constructed using cross laminated timber (CLT) as the primary building material and provides a highly appropriate comparison for this research on the selection of laminated veneer bamboo as an alternative structural material to CLT.
The structural aspect of this study aimed to evaluate the mechanical properties of a laminated veneer bamboo sheet product. The capabilities of LVB were reviewed by means of a comparative analysis against timber sheet products (OSB, Plywood). By utilising the strength of engineered bamboo efficiently, a diaphragm panel system was designed and tested as part of the LCA study as an alternative to the CLT panels that were used in the construction of Stadthaus at Murray Grove, London. The literature review and primary research present the environmental value of selecting bamboo as an alternative building material to steel, concrete and engineered timber, three of the most widely used primary structural materials in building projects today. These primary building materials, in particular concrete and steel, are energy intensive in their production1 and application and have a high global warming potential when compared to ‘green’ construction materials, for instance, timber and bamboo. The hypothesis is that engineered bamboo, through its potential to be efficiently designed for use in small and large scale buildings, has the potential to be an alternative, environmentally friendly, primary structural material. Bamboo is, based on its properties, an underutilised resource. Ongoing research and previous studies in Europe and Asia (Chung & Yu, 2002; Li, Zhang, Huang, & Deeks, 2013; C.S. Verma & Chariar, 2012) have shown that engineered bamboo can match the strengths of steel and in some cases far exceed those of engineered timber products. These studies show that there is a potential to utilise engineered bamboo for use as a primary structural material.
Kavanagh, P. (2016) A comparative life cycle assessment for utilising laminated veneer bamboo as a primary structural material in high-rise residential buildings. Masters dissertation. Dublin Institute of Technology. doi:10.21427/D7JK69