A lot of people are trying to figure out ways to use up the vast amount of pine-beetle infested timber that is all going to rot away; (Bonnie wrote about it in Turning Beetle-Infested Wood to Good (Design) Use). Now the University of Northern British Columbia has come up with an interesting idea: Mountain Pine Beetle Wood Concrete, or as others have called it, "Beetlecrete." It was on display at the Green Building Festival/ IIDEX.
It is an interesting product that pours like concrete and cuts like wood. "You can nail into it, you can screw into it and you can cut it with normal woodworking tools," says Ian Hartley, dean of the school's graduate programs in BCBusiness.
They have made a few prototypes and done some marketing studies, and even had a sample with electric wiring to show how effective it would be as a radiant floor. And while portland cement isn't exactly the greenest material going, neither is aggregate, which makes up the great bulk of conventional concrete. For non-structural uses where you want the thermal mass of concrete, like floors, this could be a useful product.
I really do wonder why website is so boring and incomplete, why they insist on calling it the completely unmemorable MPBWC instead of the catchier Beetlecrete, and why they concentrate their energy on focus groups instead of design, showing people what this stuff could really do. The products they have prototyped do it no justice.
What a waste, when so much of this wood is going to waste.