Just a few decades ago, the widespread use of biobased materials in construction would have felt like science fiction to many in the industry. Today, with the growing use of biomass in everything from bioplastics to intermediate materials, it is becoming more widely accepted that green materials are necessary for sustainable industry.
Material producers are showing increased interest in the USDA BioPreferred® Program, and taking a look at the widespread examples of biobased materials in construction should be enough to convince even the staunchest supporters of fossil fuel-derived products and materials.
Here are descriptions of how products are used in the industry with specific examples taken from the USDA BioPreferred Catalog.
Hydraulic equipment is widely used in the construction of any scale, and maintaining the performance of hydraulic systems is integral to the performance of equipment, and can even impact lead times and overall project management. In construction, operators require reliable products that are both proven and affordable.
Numerous companies now produce hydraulic fluids that are used in the construction industry, with the most competitive companies taking advantage of USDA Certified Biobased labeling. One product is derived from seed oils with better lubricating properties than conventional hydraulic oils. Higher performance is essential in the construction industry as it can reduce maintenance requirements and increase productivity.
Metalworking lubricants are also essential in construction, as well as in general fabrication. Some of the world’s most prominent lubricant companies have introduced products to market that are certified under the USDA BioPreferred Program.
Paint and coating materials have traditionally been some of the most environmentally damaging products used in construction. Even with a movement to non-toxic materials, there have still been major concerns regarding the production of non-biomass products. Sealants used with foam (such as for insulation) are not often considered to be environmentally friendly, however, there are emerging products that contain up to 80% biobased content used in everything from molded polyurethane to special coatings, sealants, and adhesives. As more companies shift to using USDA Certified Biobased products and intermediate materials, the overall carbon footprint of modern construction will decrease.
Engines are used in construction in everything from air compressors, to the engines in loaders, diggers, and other large appliances. Products with USDA Certified Biobased labels include crankcase oils, 2-stroke engine oils, and general motor oils.
Some of these oils include ultra-high performance oils, which are essential for applications in high-performance engines, or engines that operate in extreme low temperatures. These oils generally meet a minimum of 25% biomass components, and provide superior engine lubrication when compared to OEM recommended synthetic and petroleum-based brands.
Even the personal safety equipment used on modern construction sites can be derived from a biobased material. Slip-resistant materials and even safety hard hats can be made from plant resin-derived plastics, with some products being up to 95% biobased. Safety equipment conforms to the same standards as equivalent items made from petroleum-derived plastics, further reinforcing the point that a transition to more USDA Certified Biobased products will not be detrimental to the construction industry.
Staying competitive with biobased materials will require testing and certification from the USDA BioPreferred Program. Beta Analytic provides biobased content testing for companies wanting to certify their latest products. Contact the lab for more information on ASTM D6866 testing as required under the USDA BioPreferred Program.
Beta Analytic is not affiliated with ASTM or the USDA BioPreferred Program. The ISO 17025-accredited lab welcomes inquiries on ASTM D6866 biobased content testing. Please contact the lab for price or turnaround time inquiries.