Agro-Based Building Material for Sustainable Interiors

Mar 03, 2022

As Architects & Designers, we sought to unpack the meaning of waste to architecture. There has been a colossal amount of waste generated every year that gets dumped into the ocean or in a huge landfill. Can the construction Industry turn this around, and how?

We must ask ourselves- Is wasting resources a necessary part of the design process? As designers we can reconceive the consumption cycle in more delicate and economical ways. Developing a circular economy, setting a goal of not disposing of building material moves the challenge of waste more deeply into the construction Industry. “Waste becomes as much a beginning as an end.”

To meet the demands of the construction Industry the annual carbon emissions reach about 40% globally. This rapid urbanization saw the emergence in innovating & transforming Building Materials Made Out of Waste.  The need for sustainable and carbon negative material led to the development of Building Materials made of Agro – waste.

Now, what are Agro-waste Materials?

Waste generated from agriculture, all kinds of straws, husks - sugarcane bagasse, rice husk, jute fiber, coconut husk, cotton stalk etc. According to Strawcture Eco ‘500 million tons of this straw is produced in India and 140 million tons of this is burnt’

Reuse of such wastes as a sustainable construction material appears to be a viable solution not only to the pollution problem but also to the problem of the landfilling and increasing cost of construction materials.

Agro-Waste for Sustainable Material

Let’s explore some of the brilliant building materials innovated from Agriculture waste.

AgriBioPanelTM from Strawcture Eco

AgriBioPanelTMis compressed Agrifiber panels made of 90% straw, it is an alternative to Particle Board & HDF. Strawcture Eco manufactures this next-gen building materials from Agri-waste.

Products from Strawtecture Eco

How are they made?

Straw from any paddy crop is bought locally from farmers and converted into bales which are then transported to Strawcture Eco mfg. plant. The raw materials sourced are within a 50km radius of plant location, mindful of carbon footprint. The bales go through the drying process to reduce moisture mixed with proprietary 4% resin and organic dyes. Boards go through multiple rounds of compression under pressure. Panels of sizes of 10x6ft and 13x6ft are cut and marketed as raw boards or laminated boards.

Pre-lamination is done by vacuum pressing laminates over raw boards. Quality Inspection is done and then sent directly to the project or warehouse.

‘We add value to waste and produce high efficiency and sustainable panels for the built environment. We also help to tackle the problem of stubble burning and follow a Circular economy model.’

Features

AgriBioPanelTM is available in three grades. The Basic grade is an alternative to commercial ply. While HD & premium grade boards are alternatives to MR gypsum, exterior grade fiber cement board & WPC.

AgriBioPanel from Strawtecture Eco! 
  • Carbon negative material: The Carbon footprint of AgriBioPanelTMis - 0.62 CO2  which means for every Sq.m these panels absorb CO2 instead of emitting.
  • Fire-resistant panels: Straw has a high content of silica along with cellulose & lignin, silica being natural fire retardant. Since the panels are compressed at high temperature, silica property gets amplified. Certified for fire rating of up to 2 hr. highest according to National Building code.
  • Termite Proof: Chemically treated to resist termite like plyboards.
  • Moisture Resistant: Basic grade AgriBioPanelTM has low moisture resistance compared to HD & premium. Choose according to the area of application.
  • Acoustic insulation: Natural thermal protection of straw is improved when compressed at high pressure these panels offer 40dB+ sound insulation & thermal insulation with thermal conductivity of 0.0262 far less than brick which values at 1.
  • Low VOC: E1 certified, indicating low formaldehyde content.

Application

AgriBioPanelTM  can be used for drywall partition, fireproof door, ceiling, furniture and acoustical purpose. These panels are

  • 30% Less dead load
  • 30-40% Faster construction
  • 15-20% Lower framing cost
Watch Strawcture Eco's founder, Ms Shriti Pandey talk about India's first carbon negative, E-1 certified building material - AgriBioPanel™ and its construction application with zero water usage.

NFC Boards from Indowud

NFC is expanded to Natural Fiber Composite Board, another interesting eco-friendly material made for Agriculture waste. NFC boards from Indowud are made from natural fibers, minerals with poly vinyl chloride and additives. Indowud founders developed NFC with a design philosophy called AHIMSA. The ideology stands true to fight against climate change and create a better built environment that does not harm or pollute the environment.

What can you do with NFC Board?

NFC boards were created to reduce tree cuts and become a superior alternative to wood, plywood and MDF / HDF. These boards can be easily cut or shaped efficiently with carpentry tools designed for wood or plywood successfully being a competitive material.

NFC Particle Board

Features

  • Greenpro certified product CII-GPSC/CII-Godrej GBC.
  • These boards are 100% Eco-friendly and are also easily recyclable.
  • Chemically treated to be 100% Termite and Waterproof with 33 years of warranty.
  • Flame resistant and smoke suppressant (VO in UL94 test. Class A/1 under ASTM E84 test)
  • Resistant to Rodent. Algae. Fungus and Bacteria.
  • Suitable for thermoforming, can be molded to shape like solid surface.
  • Surface can be stained or painted or printed or even overlayed with veneer or laminate to achieve Aesthetic value of your preference. Just anything you imagine is possible!
  • Easily machinable, it can CNC Routing, and easy to work with generally available wood-working tools.
  • NFC Boards have good screw holding capacity, it is better than MDF. WPC, PVC foam board and particle board.
  • RoHS certified: that means it has no harmful chemicals or ingredients used during manufacturing.
  • Provides good indoor air quality with no formaldehyde and VOC emissions.
  • Good acoustic and sound absorption properties.

Applications

IndowudⓇ NFC boards were created to adapt to all designs, the boards are Moldable, yet sturdy. It was also built to withstand extreme weather conditions and far superior to wood-based panel products for all exterior and interior applications.

  • Exterior Application: Facade, Terrace Roofing, Fencing, Outdoor seating, Garden Benches & Pool side furniture or Seaside Homes, etc.
  • Interior Application: All types of Interior furniture for Office, Showroom and House - Kitchen & Bathroom furniture, Vanities, Wardrobes, Wall paneling, Partitions, etc.

Indowud suggest NFC boards are most suitable for Hospitals, Hotels, Hospitality and Resorts Home Theatres, Studios, Auditoriums, places where acoustic properties are required. Ideas are unlimited with Thermoforming possibilities. ‘With a wealth of robust features and an infinite scope of applications, Indowud NFC board is, without a doubt, the ultimate choice for all the architects, interior decorators and craftsmen looking to make their mark. It not only looks, feels, and performs like precious wood but can be worked on, handled, and maintained like wood too’

Workability with NFC Boards! 

As creators, Designers and Architects we can explore materials that can reduce the carbon footprint throughout the lifecycle of the building and embodied carbon. If you want to make a conscious material selection that the meets extreme requirement. You can now get estimates for these products on Arkihive .

Find vendors to get multiple quotes on material and make an informed decision!

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Anusha Ashok

I believe only art can change the world! Although, I constantly critique the design approach & in dispute with my belief. But usually found having tea & listening to Coldplay.