Rapidly renewable flooring may be eligible for LEED points. 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”. Rapidly renewable materials include:

• Bamboo
• Wool
• Cotton
• Agrifiber
• Linoleum
• Wheatboard
• Strawboard
• Cork

Rapidly renewable materials, such as flooring, is an element of green building and eligible for LEED points because it has less of an environmental impact than traditional harvested materials, since these resources are “rapidly” replenished.

The following are 3 types of rapidly renewable flooring that could contribute to a LEED or green building project.

1. Kirei Wheatboardreclaimed flooring

Founded in 2003, Kirei produces sustainable, nontoxic materials for interior design. Their products made from either Kirei Board (wood substitute), bamboo, wheatboard, Coco (tiles made from coconut shells), woodfall (reclaimed wood) or hemp.

Kirei wheatboard is a rapidly renewable material that works as a substitute for wood medium-density fiberboard (MDF) products. Unlike wood MDF, Kirei’s wheatboard is made without added urea formaldehyde, which improves indoor air quality. Also, it is made using a minimum of 90% pre-industrial (or pre-consumer, in LEED terms) content.

The wheatboard can be used for many applications, including architectural millwork, wall coverings, retail displays, furniture, cabinetry, and flooring.

2. Ambient Bamboo Flooring

Ambient is a supplier of high-quality bamboo flooring. Founded in 2005, Ambient’s flooring 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.

3. Marmoleum

Forbo Flooring Systems, the manufacturer of Marmoleum, is the market leader in linoleum flooring, with over 60% of the market share.

Forbo offers Marmoleum linoleum flooring products for both commercial and residential building projects. According to greenbuildingsupply.com, Marmoleum is “bio-based, highly durable, non-toxic, anti-microbial and easy to maintain”.

Marmoleum is SMaRT certified, meaning that it meets the Institute for Market Transformation to Sustainability’s standards for sustainable products, which includes a life cycle analysis. Products that are SMaRT certified are able to earn an additional LEED point for innovation in design according to a USGBC Credit Interpretation Ruling from July 2007.

LEED Credit Overview

Rapidly renewable flooring contributes 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.”


imageClaire Moloney

A recent graduate of Cornell University, where she studied Environmental Science and concentrated in Sustainable Development. Her interest in green building and LEED stems from her project-based coursework at Cornell, where she proposed design strategies for sustainable developments in Helena, MT and Ithaca, NY. Claire also exercised her passion for sustainability and energy conservation through extracurricular activities at Cornell, such as Solar Decathlon, Lights Off Cornell and Sustainability Hub. For the last three summers, she worked on energy projects at a town government, including an on-site hydrogen station and EECBG-funded activities.

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