Biobased materials: what impact for wood craftsmen?
The impact of biobased materials on wood craftsmen
Due to their environmental properties, biobased materials are emerging as a solution for the future. However, their use can represent a major challenge for craftsmen, especially for those working on wooden elements. In question ? The obligation to adapt its activity to the specificities of these materials.
What are biosourced materials ?
Biobased materials are made from renewable organic matter, also called biomass. They can have two origins
- materials of plant origin, such as wood, straw, cellulose wadding or even cork;
- materials of animal origin, such as sheep’s wool, for example.
Although they can have various uses (decoration, furniture, etc.), biobased materials are mainly used in the field of construction, in particular by carpenters, joiners and other wood craftsmen. It must be said that they can have many applications:
- structure of buildings: walls and ceilings for example;
- insulation: for the attic in particular;
- development of consumables: paints, additives and glues;
- equipment manufacturing: sheaths, frames, etc.
Why use biobased materials?
For craftsmen, including those working on wooden elements, the use of biosourced materials is becoming essential. A first reason explains it: their use “is encouraged by the public authorities during the construction or renovation of buildings”, as formalized by law no. green growth. A principle confirmed by the ELAN law, which makes biosourced materials an inseparable lever for the environmental performance of buildings.
Namely: 27 million m2: This is the volume of biosourced materials used for insulation in 2020, i.e. the equivalent of 84,000 individual houses.
This incentive owes nothing to chance, as materials from biomass have many advantages, especially from an environmental point of view.
- High hygrothermal performance: bio-based materials are able to regulate humidity and temperature variations within buildings, making them more stable than their synthetic counterparts and often more effective in terms of sound insulation.
- Greater comfort: thanks to very low emission thresholds of volatile organic compounds, these materials contribute to indoor air quality, limit heat transfer and thus ensure comfort all year round.
- A carbon storage tool: derived from biomass, these materials make it possible to capture CO2 from the atmosphere and store it throughout the life of the building, thus helping to improve the carbon footprint of the construction. They are also renewable and recyclable, limiting their impact at the end of their life.
How to adapt your activity to the use of biobased materials?
Eventually, bio-based materials may become the norm, mainly due to government incentives. For wood craftsmen, this involves many changes.
- Get trained: the use of biosourced materials requires specific qualifications, especially for insulation by spraying loose wool, for example. Reason for which the profession imposes the follow-up of a formation for their implementation.
- Become familiar with the regulations: the main biosourced elements, in particular insulation, are subject to technical advice, Acermi certification and an environmental and health declaration sheet. So many regulatory constraints to assimilate before any use.
- Choosing your suppliers: the sector is still structuring itself, it can be complicated for wood craftsmen to find suitable suppliers. This requires reviewing its supply circuits, in particular by favoring manufacturers with the Biosourced Product label.
- Staying Awake: Bio-based materials offer a wide range of applications, both structural and finishing. Lumber, wood-based composite materials, straw construction… so many uses for which craftsmen must find out, especially since developments and innovations are commonplace.
- Be proactive: bio-based materials still suffer from certain prejudices regarding their durability and effectiveness, both within the profession and among the general public. Wood craftsmen must therefore be able to convince their contacts, such as their customers, of the interest of these resources, in particular by highlighting the advantages of the Bio-based Building label for example.