« Return to BuildingGreen.com

ReWall EssentialBoard, NakedBoard, and Ceiling Panel

The ReWall Company manufactures 100% recycled sheathing, wall board, tile backer, and decorative panels made from polyethylene-coated cartons… Read more
(0 User Ratings)
Comments Add a Comment
  • Using materials recovered from the waste stream typically results in less waste, pollution, and energy use than using virgin materials. From an environmental standpoint, post-consumer is typically considered preferable to pre-consumer recycled content because post-consumer recycled materials are more likely to have been diverted from landfills.

    In some cases, we consider products with recycled content green but with some caveats regarding where they should be used. For example, rubber flooring made from recycled automobile tires should not be used in most fully enclosed indoor spaces due to the likelihood of VOC emissions.

    Recycling can have downsides. For example, some studies show that curbside collection programs and some recycling processes use more energy than they save. Closed-loop recycling is generally preferable to “down-cycling,” in which a lower-grade material is produced—but due to contamination of waste streams and the difficulty of extracting high-value ingredients, down-cycling may be as good as it gets. At times recycling can re-introduce hazardous components. Some products, like copper and aluminum, include a high level of recycled content as a matter of course—which we applaud, but don’t consider justification for listing in GreenSpec. As more complete life-cycle information on recycled materials and processes becomes available, we use that to increase our scrutiny of recycled products.

Tristan Roberts
Editorial Director

The ReWall Company manufactures 100% recycled sheathing, wall board, tile backer, and decorative panels made from polyethylene-coated cartons. The recycled content is primarily post-consumer, and the company also is working to incorporate pre-consumer scrap from carton manufacturers. The recycled cartons are shredded and heat-bonded to each other without the use of chemicals, additives, or adhesives. The boards are water resistant due to their polyethylene content. EssentialBoard is paper-faced on both sides and NakedBoard has no facing. ReWall's Ceiling Panels are available in 2' squares or 2' x 4' tiles and are 3/16" thick. ReWall offers a five-year warranty on these products.

Sheathing comprises a significant portion of the materials used with many building types. Careful consideration of product selection and use can reduce the environmental impacts of a project.

Wall sheathing is often used only as an additional layer of weather protection, although it may also be required for racking resistance. When let-in diagonal bracing is used to provide racking resistance, wood-panel sheathing can sometimes be eliminated or replaced with more resource-efficient or insulative products.

Phenol-formaldehyde (PF) binders are used in plywood, while OSB can be made with PF or the non-formaldehyde-emitting methyl diisocyanate (MDI), a polyurethane binder. Ironically, exterior-rated products using PF binders are less of an offgassing concern than interior-grade panels made with urea-formaldehyde.

Oriented-strand board (OSB) can be an efficient use of forest resources because it can be produced from small-diameter or low-grade tree species. Wood products can carry the “FSC Mixed” label under a percentage-based standard based on the average certified and non-certified throughput of the facility at which they are made.

Products listed here have one or more of the following attributes: FSC-certification; nonformaldehyde binders; relatively nontoxic borate preservative treatments; or other environmental advantages over conventional OSB and plywood.

Effective moisture-management should be the primary consideration in selecting a backerboard product for wet areas, such as tub and bath surrounds. There are three major types of tile backer board appropriate for these applications: cementitious, coated glass mat, and fiber-cement.

Coated glass mat products have a gypsum core with glass fibers sandwiched between fiberglass surface mats. Unlike paper-backed gypsum board, glass mat products are not recyclable, but neither are other backerboards for wet areas. With cementitious and fiber-cement boards a primary environmental concern is the embodied energy of portland cement. With these boards, consider products with below average use of portland cement. This is often accomplished through replacement with fly ash, a byproduct of coal combustion. While concerns have been raised about fly ash, at this time GreenSpec does support its use in products such as cementitious backerboard where it lowers the product’s embodied energy and the fly ash is chemically or physically locked up, as described in this 2010 EBN Editorial.

Backerboard products listed here are included primarily for their durability, although other environmental issues play a role. These products may be coated glass mat boards, or either cementitious or fiber cement boards—with preference given to those that have reduced use of portland cement. To the best of our knowledge these products do not include hazards of high concern.

LEED Credits

MRc4: Recycled Content

Ratings and Commentary

Add Comment

Welcome !