15-0205 v2.1/NRDC Chicago Expansion/Formaldehyde in Bamboo Flooring


Regarding our project in Beijing, China we are requesting to either zone jump or get an exemption for 20 sq meters of bamboo flooring. The design team has done extensive research on multiple bamboo companies and has been unable to find one within zone that either does not contain added formaldehyde or is willing to disclose all the materials ingredients. Timing has become an issue because of the fast paced nature of construction unique to China. The team would be willing to spend more time researching and advocating if it wouldn’t push back move in. Therefore it won’t be possible to spend more time finding and advocating for a more compliant bamboo prior to the time it needs to be installed.

There are several reasons we think it is reasonable to use one of the options we’ve found and continue to work with that manufacturer to become LBC compliant. Bamboo is a central part of Chinese culture. It grows locally across the country, is a focal theme of much artwork, is incorporated into many designs, is considered very resilient and is rapidly renewable. The team believes the use of bamboo exemplifies biophilia because the plant is native to the land on which the city of Beijing is built. Therefore, the Beijing office staff, with the support of NRDC as an organization, are adamant that it is incorporated into the design. It is as important to them as other functional requirements of the office.

We have tried to find ways to work it into the design in a formaldehyde-free way. However, since we are using as many reclaimed materials as possible we have few places to use it. Additionally, we’ve specified superior products in other areas - such as strawboard in cabinetry and Clestra doors on offices and conference room that perform better functionally than bamboo and are LBC compliant. In the current design bamboo is only specified to be the flooring in a part of reception.

Finally, we see this as an opportunity for advocacy in the market since several Chinese bamboo manufacturers are not compliant with the red list, yet companies abroad have achieved formaldehyde-free products. GIGA would help by supporting one of researched Chinese vendors become more transparent and help them to fill out a Declare Label.


The Institute will not create an exception for this request because we have identified that Plyboo, a compliant bamboo flooring product, is available in China.

Post ID 2531

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