Embodied Energy in the Process of Hardwood Flooring
Hardwood flooring is one of the most common flooring in our life. The processes of produce hardwood flooring are very complex. Those processes from beginning to end of produce hardwood flooring embody different energy. My research is focus on the energy that embodied in the process of hardwood flooring. From the article “Green Speak”, the embodied energy means “the sum of the energy necessary to make a product, from the raw material extraction to the manufacturing process to shipping it to its point of use. Embodied energy is part of Life Cycle Analysis, which follows the product’s environmental impact from raw material extraction all the way through its use and its ultimate disposal or reuse” (KEN 2008). The embodied energy of the hardwood flooring life-cycle is based on the flowing parts, the raw materials acquisition, the manufacturing, processing, transportation, recycle and waster management. The primary raw material of the hardwood flooring is the wood from angiosperm trees. There are many kinds of hardwood species such as ash, pine, oak, maple and cheery. These primary raw materials can make two kinds of hardwood flooring, which are solid hardwood and engineered hardwood. Because of solid hardwood maintained properly and easily last a hundred years, it have been used for centuries. “They are a solid piece of milled hardwood which is precut in a tongue and groove shape which allows easy installation. They can be purchased in finished or unfinished condition. The main advantage of a solid wood floor is its life span” (MARC, 2013). Different from solid hardwood, engineered hardwood flooring is made of several layers of wood that are glued and compressed together and topped with a veneer. “A veneer is a decorative thin slice of wood applied to the core material which will provide you with the look of solid wood. The separately glued layers do provide certain advantages such as sound isolation, increased comfort level, and protection against moisture” (MARC, 2013). The raw materials acquisition associated with the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) are GHG emissions from energy used during the raw materials acquisition and manufacturing processes. “Hardwood flooring manufacture is accomplished through a series of unit process. A unit process may be thought of as a machine center, a work cell or a specific operational task which both requires and modifies a material input in some way” ( HUBBARD and BOWE 8). The manufacturing processes of hardwood flooring are fellow the flowing basic steps. First of all, harvested wood from forests and hardwood logs are transports to a sawmill. Then, at the sawmill, the first thing need to di is bucking the hardwood to length. The wood cutting machine will embodied the energy. And then limbing, transportation, decking and sawing. There are three major ways to sort the wood, head saw, head rig and primary saw. In this step, it use the kinetic energy. The same energy also shows in the next step, which called edging. The following steps are trimming, drying, planning smooth to the lumber and transportation to the flooring mill. The thermal energy from these processes is wood residue produce on-site used to fuel on-site boilers, and electricity is main source of energy. When flooring mill received the lumber, “manual labor and fork trucks are used in this process. The output of this unit process is stacked green lumber ready for kiln drying or kiln dried lumber ready for planning. (HUBBARD and BOWE 9). According to the figure in the article “Life-Cycle Inventory of Solid Strip Hardwood Flooring in the Eastern United States”, we will know that the process of flooring mill starts with stacked and stickered green lumber. This process called drying. The energies included in the drying process are “kiln and transportation maintenance, handling of kiln emissions, and transport of the newly dried lumber” (HUBBARD and BOWE...
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