Accoya and the circular economy (C2C) – A perfect fit!
Head of Product Marketing
Why Accoya® environmentally friendly timber fits perfectly into the circular economy
As a result of increasing global population and consumption, and a linear make-take-waste economy, our planet is over exploited resulting in depletion of the world natural resources, a huge waste problem, toxic emissions and ultimately global warming.
Against this backdrop it seems unimaginable to keep mass consuming carbon intensive materials from non-renewable resources such as plastics, concrete and metals. Although there are various initiatives within the concept of the circular economy that emphasise closing the loop of the so-called technical cycle for non renewable materials, in reality this is more an exception to the rule than current practice. Take a look at the Sustainability animation for more information.
Essentially, renewable materials produced in the bio-cycle of the circular economy (including sustainable wood) have three huge ‘green’ benefits over techno-cycle materials:
- Sustainable wood is renewable (if managed well; an unlimited source of resource)
- Sustainable wood has a very low, possibly even negative carbon footprint
- If designed well (biocycle compliant additives, coatings & adhesives), sustainable wood is biodegradable, returning back into the bio-cycle becoming nutrients for new plants/trees.
LINEAR ECONOMY BASED ON NON-RENEWABLE MATERIAL
BIOBASED ECONOMY FROM RENEWABLE MATERIALS (SUSTAINABLE WOOD)
However, often techno-cycle materials are preferred over biocycle materials such as sustainable wood because of their superior technical performance. With Accoya® wood, there is now a fully bio-cycle compliant material – including the associated green benefits – that matches the technical performance of techno-cycle materials.
Accoya® – C2C Gold and C2C Platinum (Material Health) certified!
Cradle to Cradle (C2C) is a design philosophy developed by Michael Braungart and William McDonough inspired by the circular economy concept. Since 2005 the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ product standard was developed and has been highly adopted in Western markets as being the most stringent product certification fitting with the incentives of the circular economy.
Through the certification process, the C2C product standard steers designers and manufacturers through a continuous environmental and social improvement process in which the product is assessed in five categories:
- Material health
- Material recycling
- Renewable energy and carbon management
- Water management
- Social responsibility.
Accsys Group’s proprietary acetylation process used to manufacture Accoya® fits perfectly in the bio-cycle of the C2C concept. Through the acetylation process, the part of sustainable wood that readily bonds with water is replaced by acetyl groups which are naturally occurring, especially in the more durable sustainable wood species. Thus, the acetylation process mimics nature, and without adding any toxic substances, it ensures superior performance.
Therefore, Accoya® combines all the positive attributes from sustainable wood – renew-ability, strength, beauty, a carbon sink – without the typical downfalls -inconsistent quality and poor durability & stability. It is CO2 neutral over the full life cycle, and is 100% biodegradable.
Also at end-of-use, Accoya® provides no challenges whatsoever. It can be treated similar to untreated sustainable wood and thus can be re- or upcycled in various ways. Therefore it comes as no surprise that Accoya® has been certified at the C2C Gold level since 2010, as the only structural building material around, see here for further information. It has even received a separate certification for Material Health at the highest level possible under C2C standards: the platinum level.
It is for these reasons that Accoya® is specified in many C2C inspired projects including, the new C2C office of the Municipality of Venlo, and the first C2C inspired business park 2020 in Hoofddorp by Delta Development. Furthermore, Accsys is actively supporting the Built Positive movement initiated by the C2C Product Innovation Institute, to further promote the adoption of C2C design principles in the Built Environment.
A large benefit of the C2C certification is that, especially at the higher certification levels (Gold & Platinum), it contributes to several credits in recognised Green Building Schemes such as LEED and BREEAM. For example, the office with the highest BREEAM score worldwide (score 99,94%) features Accoya® doors, windows and siding. For more information about the contribution Accoya® can provide to your BREEAM and LEED project see the downloadable memo’s at this page.