Environmental Savings from the use of Vegetable Fibers as Concrete Reinforcement
Paper in proceedings, 2011
The growing interest in sustainable construction materials has brought back the spotlight to the use of bio-fibers as reinforcement of concrete. Bio-fiber reinforced concrete elements can achieve mechanical properties comparable to traditional products with added values as coming from renewable sources, being less expensive and opening new possibilities for concrete recycling. The life cycle inventories of both traditional and bio-fiber reinforced products were developed using SIMA pro. Moreover, life cycle assessments were carried out in order to represent different scenarios considering amounts of materials required; energy demands due to processing, transportation and disposal. It was concluded that the use of bio-fibers as reinforcement for concrete can produce a significant environmental saving only under certain conditions. These were noticeably influenced by material quantities while factors like transport, disposal, or possibilities of recycling of the studied products did not produce a significant impact. The replacement of traditional reinforcements can not only bring a significant environmental saving for the production of concrete but carries also a remarkable cost reduction potential, making it an interesting option for the ever growing demand of housing in the developing world, where many of the bio-fibers grow naturally, thus opening new opportunities for sustainable and affordable construction materials, employment generation, and business.
life cycle assessment