Towards designing eco-friendly buildings with in-built termite protection

IRG/WP 10-50273

J R J French, B M Ahmed Shiday, B Maggiolo, D Maggiolo

The increase in greenhouse gases, leading to global warming, is considered by a consistent scientific worldview not due to natural variation, but due to the growing concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and other atmospheric pollutants. Global emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil fuel combustion and cement production rose from 22.6 billion tons in 1990 to an estimated 31.2 billion tons in 2007 – a staggering 37 percent increase. This is 85 million tons of carbon dioxide spilled into the atmosphere each day – or 13 kg on average per person. The realisation that saving the global climate and protecting ecosystems, now and in future, in a warming world, affects everyone. So, how are the IRG members and IRG as an institution, which include the building, chemical, academic, and pest control industries dealing with the challenge of global warming in sustaining their businesses? Can we advise these industries to make choices to minimise the impact of global warming and minimise their carbon footprints? Can IRG convey to the world at large the profound long-term consequences of the ‘experiment’ we are now conducting with Earth’s atmosphere, with emphasis on a sustainable wood protection industries. Furthermore, on the biological level, we have scant data on the effects of climate change to the distribution, ecology, biology and control of wood-destroying insects and wood-decay bacteria and fungi. Preliminary field tests were carried out against Coptotermes species at Caloundra in Queensland (Qld) and Nhulunbuy in Northern Territory (NT). The test samples were exposed to active above ground mound colonies of Coptotermes lacteus in Caloundra and Coptotermes acinaciformis in Nhulunbuy and there was no visible evidence of feeding or tunnelling into the Hemcrete® samples. In this paper, with global warming in mind, we offer suggestions to the timber, building, chemical, and pest control industries to consider the advent and utilisation of bio-composite, carbon negative products, such as, Hemcrete®. We consider this product meets the challenge of an eco-friendly building product that is termite resistant.

Keywords: global warming, greenhouse gases, subterranean termites, Hemcrete®, Coptotermes species, termite-resistant, field trials, sustainability

Conference: 10-05-09/13 Biarritz, France

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