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 The Division of the State Architect's Sustainable Schools Resource
Materials » Rapidly Renewable Materials


Rapidly Renewable Materials

Photos of rapidly growing materials such as cork, strawbale, and bamboo; photos' caption, 'Examples of rapidly renewable materials that can be used in construction along with conventional materials.

Using rapidly renewable materials rather than non-renewables, which include fossil fuel-based plastics or slowly regenerating resources such as old-growth lumber, may reduce the environmental impact of your building by lowering its impact on the climate, and by avoiding contributions to deforestation. Rapidly renewable materials are products that regenerate quicker than the demand for the products. Many rapidly renewable materials, such as agricultural waste products converted into pressed agri-board products, bamboo, cork flooring, and others perform equally as well as their non-renewable counterparts. There are many applications for rapidly renewable materials, however the most common applications include flooring and cabinetry. Rapidly renewable materials can be showcased in schools as an educational tool in many classes and for various age groups. As rapidly renewable materials are an emerging market, schools can affect their proliferation in the marketplace by helping to create the demand necessary to sustain their vitality.

Featured Resources

Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS)
(Best Practices Manual Volume 2: Interior Surfaces and Furnishings Section) CHPS aims to facilitate the design of high performance schools in California - environments that are not only resource efficient, but also healthy, comfortable, well lit and contain the amenities needed for a quality education. CHPS has developed a set of Best Practices Manuals (available at to create a new generation of high performance school facilities in California.

California Integrated Waste Management Board (CIWMB) - Green Building Materials
CIWMB's website provides a discussion and recommendations on material use and choice for sustainable building projects.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines (CPG)
This website contains information on the CPG and EPA's Recovered Materials Advisory Notices (RMANs), which recommend recycled-content levels for CPG items.

This site includes a searchable database, called REDI, of more than 1,700 companies that offer green building products. You'll also find information on books, videos, and software related to green building and design, a product gallery of new and interesting products, useful information on sustainable design and construction, and a newsletter filled with ideas for making your building project more energy- and resource-efficient.

Building Green - Green Spec
GreenSpec is BuildingGreen's premiere product information service. It contains detailed listings for more than 1,500 green building products with environmental data, manufacturer information, and links to additional resources.

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