Performance of bio-based building materials – viewpoints from the first year of COST Action FP1303
Maintaining and expanding the market potential for bio-based building products in indoor and outdoor construction uses remains a key activity for industries in the forestry and biotechnological sector, particularly in Europe. Whilst there are ongoing activities within IRG for collecting and populating a database on performance on wood, the performance data for many other (i.e. non-wood) "environmental friendly" building materials are lacking as well as suitable comprehensive test methodologies to determine their resistance against mould, stain, and decay. The similarity in terms of decay hazard, resulting response on climatic loads and thus performance of different bio-based building materials has not yet been recognised adequately, and in order to overcome this problem within Europe, COST (Cooperation in Science and Technology) established the Action FP1303 entitled “Performance of biobased building materials”, which from 2013-2017 will provide a platform for networking and scientific exchange between different disciplines, such as material sciences, wood technology, biology, biotechnology, building physics and engineering. Through the activities in this Action, there will be a coordinated effort to put the issue of biodegradability of organic building products on the agenda, combined with consumer demands and preferences. These will help define service life prediction and performance models, will consider aesthetical aspects as well as the functionality of building assemblies. These will ultimately contribute to the control and prevention of any imminent threat to use bio-based building materials, which in turn could severely damage a pan-European low carbon building agenda. This paper outlines some of the activities undertaken within the first year of the Action, and describes some of the planned activities in the coming years.
Keywords: biobased building materials, performance, functional service life, aesthetic service life, service life planning, COST