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Sustainable Building Materials in Kerala
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Sustainable Building Materials in Kerala

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Sustainable development is often an over-used word,
but goes to the heart of tackling a number of inter-related
global issues such as poverty, inequality, hunger and
environmental degradation. Sustainable building materials
include rapidly renewable plant materials like bamboo
(because bamboo grows quickly) and straw, lumber from
forests certified to be sustainably managed, ecology blocks,
recycled stone, recycled metal, and other products that are
non-toxic, reusable, renewable, and/or recyclable) The
EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) also suggests
using recycled industrial goods, such as coal combustion
products, foundry sand, and demolition debris in
construction projects. Building materials should be
extracted and manufactured locally to the building site to
minimize the energy embedded in their transportation.

For past few years, several studies have been conducted
in the area of sustainable building materials. Most of the
countries have switched over to the locally available
sustainable building materials in their area for their
construction industry thereby making their environment
eco friendly. In a project, sponsored by the National
Science Foundation, to develop bio-based composite
materials for the next generation of American housing
panel applications, a group of researchers at Michigan State
University strived to generate eco-friendly greener
composite materials for structural applications.

Cotton Fiber
Cotton is cultivated primarily for its fiber; little use is
made of the plant stalk. Stalk harvest yields tend to be low
and storage can be a problem. The cotton stalks may be
plagued with parasites, and stored stalks can be a dwelling
place for the parasites. If the parasite issue can be
addressed, cotton stalks can be an excellent source of fiber.
Cotton stalk fiber is found to possess the structure and
dimensions similar to common species of hardwood fiber.

Banana Fibres
Banana plant waste, as lignocellulosic fiber, was treated
with alkaline pulping and steam explosion to produce
banana fibers and banana micro fibrils. The chemical
composition of the ensuing fibers and micro fibrils was

Possibilities for the industrial utilisation of waste from
fibre crops such as coconut, cotton, rice, tapioca and of
fibre waste from fruit plants such as banana and pineapple
are described. Investigations on the industrial use of banana
fibre and pineapple leaf fibre, fibrous wastes from fruit
plantations, are outlined. Future studies are required to be
conducted on the prospects of using tapioca fibre as a
natural fibre composite. Detailed exploration and research
in the effective utilization of the above mentioned natural
fibres would result in economical improvement and eco
friendly environment generation for the state of Kerala.
Studies reveal that we have to put in lot of effort in
efficiently utilizing our own locally available sustainable
building materials for shaping our own economy to the
fullest extent.

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