Accoya “Lasts a Lifetime” campaign launches

27.02.2023

Accoya wood | Lasts a Lifetime | Wooden windows for your family home

The campaign features the first UK TV commercial to promote Accoya wood

The commercial will air from Monday 27th March 2023 on Sky, supported by digital advertising including YouTube and other social media channels.

The launch of a new UK national advertising campaign, “Lasts a Lifetime”, highlights the high performance of Accoya wood to homeowners.

The campaign will launch with a commercial on Sky TV targeting a subset of the homeowner market audience. This will be supported by digital, ads running through the spring.

The commercial on Sky is expected to reach an audience of more than 3.1M homeowners with and ad frequency of 5.5. It follows a young family’s life through the lens of an Accoya window, charting the ups and downs of a relationship between a father and his daughter over the years. The window acts as a constant in their ever-changing lives.

George Neel, Communications, Marketing and ESG Director, Accsys, commented: “As we move into the warmer months many people are considering replacing their windows and doors. Windows and doors are one of the biggest investments to add value to a home and choosing the right material is key. We want to ensure homeowners understand the durability and reliability benefits of Accoya and know that it lasts a lifetime.”

Accoya Insights – February 2023

09.02.2023

Recent updates from Accoya

Recent updates from Accoya

Welcome to our first edition of Accoya Insights – our bi-monthly newsletter bringing you relevant company updates and key developments from around the world.

This edition includes:

  • Record Accoya production in the Netherlands
  • Accoya USA construction update
  • Results of Accoya and Accoya Color testing
  • Upcoming trade shows and seminars
  • New recruit – Darrin Andrews
  • New project case studies

Top 10 projects of 2022

2022 has been a fantastic year for projects, as demonstrated by the sheer variation available, from exterior cladding to greenhouses to sculptures —the possibilities have really been endless! This year more than ever, our projects show off Accoya’s versatility and durability by standing the test of time. Sustainability has also become an increasingly vital trend for clients, and while several governments and large companies are committing to net-zero targets, reducing emissions is a global target. As we reflect on the year that’s just been, we believe that the performance and sustainability of Accoya will continue to enhance even more projects in 2023, but in the meantime, here are 10 of the best projects of 2022.

1. Hotel Rotterdam Airport

1. Hotel Rotterdam Airport

First off, we have the Hotel Rotterdam Airport. This is a special project in a special location, as it is not often that you get to build right next door to Rotterdam Airport. Accoya was chosen by both the contractor and the architects as the perfect material to use for cladding. The most important aspect of the wood was its need to be fire-resistant as well as durable, stable, and sustainable.

The underlying idea in the age we now live in is to construct safe buildings by adhering to the strict criteria that go with it. Let’s not forget the emphasis on sustainability, which is becoming increasingly important. For this project, the aspect of sustainability in connection with the environment and the surroundings is not only represented by the Accoya façade cladding but also by the plants that decorate it. In this way, all parts of the building have contributed towards creating a beautiful, stable, sustainable hotel that gives its guests a warm welcome.

2. Waldens Farmhouse

2. Waldens Farmhouse

Walden’s Farm, located in West Grimstead, Salisbury, is one to pin to the top of your sustainable building materials board, incorporating Accoya for the cladding, decking, and doors for the property. It was vital for the architects that the strong farming roots of the location be celebrated, and the natural Accoya timber cladding assists the stone features of the land, such as existing barns and outbuildings, to achieve just that! Not only has Accoya helped maintain the property’s character, but also its high performance and durability will make these features last a lifetime! To keep in tune with the natural theme, Accoya is derived from fast-growing sustainable forests, contributing to lower carbon emissions for a healthier planet.

3. Herdsman Lake Regional Park

3. Herdsman Lake Regional Park

Accoya was chosen for the material used for the Olive Seymour Boardwalk located at Herdsman Lake Regional Park. As a result of the previous boardwalk made using Jarrah rotting, Accoya wood was used to replace decking boards, handrails, and joists.

4. Marisol Malibu Residence

4. Marisol Malibu Residence

This exceptional home is California’s very first “zero-carbon” home, meaning that 100% of the home’s energy must be renewable and 100% of the embodied carbon emissions associated with construction are offset (by using things like sustainable lumber).

FSC-certified Accoya wood is used in several areas of the home for exterior cladding, interior ceiling cladding, and interior wall cladding. Along with Shou Sugi Ban, this is a traditional Japanese method of charring wood cladding to make it waterproof.

The design and construction plan included “carbon sequestering” techniques using sustainable wood and recycled concrete. For example, instead of using 80,000 pounds of steel, they replaced it with FSC mass timber. These materials were built together to not only look and feel exactly right, but to do right by our environment, so it was only right to include this project in the top 10!

5. RHS Bridgewater

5. RHS Bridgewater

The RHS embarked on ambitious plans to realise their fifth garden—a 154-acre site in the former Worsley New Hall grounds, on the outskirts of Salford. White Cottage Greenhouses were commissioned to design, manufacture, and install two large mono-pitch lean-to glasshouses in the new Paradise Garden, designed by Tom Stuart-Smith. The garden was created within a heritage landscape and is the first RHS garden in the North West of England’s climatic and ecological conditions.

White Cottage has been successfully manufacturing painted-timber greenhouses for many years. Their ethos has always been to create a genuine timber-framed greenhouse while minimising maintenance and decay risk. This made them the perfect fit for this project.

Over the last five years, White Cottage has shifted entirely over to Accoya wood, and so there was no other material choice for the Paradise Garden superstructures. With Accoya, excessive movement in tongue and groove boards is eliminated, meaning cracks in paint are far less likely to occur. There are time savings in the joinery manufacturing process, fewer defects such as knots, and better performance all around, as well as outstanding, guaranteed durability.

A key feature of Accoya is that the coatings will last longer than on other timber products. White Cottage believes that Accoya is easier to paint and requires less preparation than other timber alternatives.

6. Carinya residence

6. Carinya residence

This private home illustrates that timber is a great material to use in your home. Accoya timber has been used for windows and doors in the main property, as well as for garage doors, out-buildings, a pedestrian gate with a pergola, driveway gates, and a picket fence.

The homeowners used Accoya-approved manufacturers, Against the Grain, for all elements of Accoya.

The Accoya wood has been coated in a variety of colours for this project. Accoya is the ideal material for coatings as it is so stable, and the limited movement all year round will prevent coatings from deteriorating. The stability will also allow windows and doors to move freely, as Accoya wood will shrink and swell much less than other wood species.

7. Please be seated

7. Please be seated

The uniquely designed piece of public artwork, Please Be Seated, was made from 1440 planks of Accoya timber and designed by London-based designers, Paul Cocksedge Studio. Accoya is a fantastic timber to use for sculptures such as this one due to its high performance, yet what is particularly outstanding is that you don’t need to sacrifice performance for non-sustainable timber. A key benefit of making Accoya the material of choice is the Cradle to Cradle Gold Certification. This recognises that Accoya is fully circular, with no added synthetic materials, fully recyclable, and non-toxic. The Accoya planks are supported by a framework of bent steel designed to be easily assembled and disassembled for travel.

The structure was fabricated in partnership with UAP, and the Accoya was sourced and supplied by a local Accoya-approved distributor, Jiangsu Dragon Wood (JDW). Paul Cocksedge Studio worked with JDW to complete and install, managing the entire process remotely as a result of COVID restrictions.

 

8. House at Vasco city

8. House at Vasco city

Ritikaa Wood Enterprises Pvt. Ltd. supplied Accoya wood windows, louvres and cladding for this newly built home in Vasco city.

Young homeowners used Opolis Architects to design their unique cantilever home with multiple courtyards to connect the inside with the outdoors seamlessly. This was achieved using the eight-foot high Accoya louvres.

All Accoya wood used has been coated in the same dark brown colour.

9. Fire Tower Kalmthoutse Heide

9. Fire Tower Kalmthoutse Heide

The Belgian Kalmthoutse Heide park has gained a valuable landmark: a new 42-metre-high fire watchtower. Architect NOHNIK and construction partners Bureau Bouwtechniek and Ingenieursbureau ABT Belgi created an elegant truss structure by perfectly combining wood and steel. From every angle, the fire watchtower offers a dynamic and panoramic view over the natural landscape of the Kalmthoutse Heide.

Accoya wood was the material of choice for the railings, balustrades, and fire watchtower—the ultimate contrast to the steel truss construction frame. A variation of wood thicknesses and spacing was used, creating a sophisticated look, and thanks to the colour and material combination of Accoya wood, the tower harmonises beautifully with the surrounding natural landscape.

10. Homes in the forest, Lithuania

10. Homes in the forest, Lithuania

A pair of newly built single-family houses reside in the heart of the forest near Vilnius.The adjacent plots were designed at the same time and use similar styles of architectural expression.

For one of the properties, alongside floor-to-ceiling windows and doors, cladding covers the entire exterior; however, two contrasting materials have been used. The front of the home is covered in rough ceramic bricks, each coloured dark brown. With textured edges and surfaces and vertical installation, the façade creates the appearance of tree bark. For the back of the building, natural Accoya wood cladding was chosen, also installed vertically in very narrow battens. Accoya was also used for the garden decking and walled garden snug, creating comfort and warmth.

The clients themselves requested to use Accoya wood, but the architect, Architektūros linija chose the style and finish of the cladding. Accoya is ideal for cladding in this environment because the quality material is warrantied to last, even in the harsh conditions of extreme cold in the winter and heat in the summer.

The surrounding natural environment heavily influenced the design and material choices. All of the cladding and decking was installed by a local Accoya sub-distributor, Argila. The Accoya wood was finished with ferrous sulphate to give the impression that weathering had already begun by turning the wood grey.

Accoya RoundUp

December 2022

02.12.2022

Winter edition

Winter edition

We are pleased to share our positive updates with you, including the successful commissioning of our fourth reactor in Arnhem and plant construction in North America, both leading to increased Accoya production capacity!

It’s been a busy time for Accoya, with several award wins, numerous projects, and the introduction of our new innovation, Accoya Color. Find out more within the RoundUp below.

How to care and maintain for your Accoya windows and doors

Thank you for investing in Accoya wooden windows for your home. We know you want your windows to continue to look their best, and just a little bit of proper care and maintenance will help keep them looking even better for longer.

11.08.2022

Regular inspection and care

Regular inspection and care

With regular inspection and care, you’ll enjoy a beautiful finish for decades to come.

Inspect your joinery regularly. Any damage in the paint should be addressed immediately to prevent moisture ingress and water entrapment under the coating. Like most things, wooden joinery can greatly benefit from regular inspection, care and maintenance – just like an annual service on a boiler or car. We strongly recommend annual inspection, cleaning of the frames and maintenance.

Please speak to your coatings supplier about supporting documentation such as care and full maintenance recommendations.

This video is based on best practice techniques and will help you keep your windows looking their best for even longer.

Accoya houten kozijnen

uPVC vs wooden windows

When it comes to uPVC vs wooden windows, this is not the first article written, nor will it be the last… But given most of us will have to replace a window or two in our lifetime, it’s important one can understand the important facts to ensure you can make best decision on what is a not insignificant expense… This article aims to highlight the pros and cons of both materials and weigh up what makes most sense. Enjoy!

14.07.2022

Are wooden windows better than uPVC?

Are wooden windows better than uPVC?

The history of uPVC Windows

The late 1980s saw the popularisation of uPVC window frames due to the perceived benefits of this modern material. Unlike conventional plastic, uPVC was more rigid, less bendable, and crucially quite stable, especially when compared to organic materials like wood. Coupled with the introduction of double glazing, uPVC windows seemed to represent a modern, high quality and low maintenance choice vs. the traditional and often expensive wooden window option.

What is uPVC?

uPVC is short for Unplasticized Polyvinyl Chloride and it is manufactured by running sodium chloride through electrolysis, producing chlorine gas. Natural gas or petroleum is then used for making ethylene, which puts together ethylene, chlorine, and liquid vinyl chlorine.

uPVC properties

uPVC properties

We have already referenced some of the properties of uPVC that made it seem such a compelling material for application in window frames and even doors when launched in the 1980s:

Cheap: There is not getting away from the fact that uPVC window frames are possible to mass produce and therefore drive down the cost of manufacturing. Compared with bespoke timber framed windows uPVC can seem like a significant cost saving, although it is necessary to look at the full life cost – something we will refer to again later in the article.

Low maintenance: uPVC was introduced into the market as a wonder product that required little to no maintenance, which is an attractive proposition when faced with the alternative of timber windows, particularly with the paintwork which is prone to flake off over time. uPVC window frames do have their own issues however which are important to reference here.

  • Structural integrity – even though uPVC is relatively durable, their light weight means that they’re prone to sagging. Essentially the weight of the glazing can cause the frame to bend, an issue not seen with wood or aluminium window frames
  • Discoloration – over time uPVC window frames will discolour and peel. This is due to extensive UV exposure with the frames turning an unsightly yellow colour. Unlike timber frames which can be re-painted the same cannot be said with uPVC. If you’re looking to smarten up your house, you have little alternative other than replacing your windows.

Durability: One of the key selling points of uPVC window frames is claimed durability – probably the most important factor when deciding what type of window frames you go with. Compared to soft wood timber frames uPVC undoubtedly has a clear advantage here, but as we know different types of wood have different properties and we must be careful not to lump them all together. What is the best way of establishing how durable a product really is? Well, looking to see what the manufacturer warranty or guarantee offered is a good place to start. You will struggle to find a uPVC window maker that offer a warranty of more than 10 years on the uPVC elements of the window. There are plenty examples of uPVC windows that have lasted longer than 10 years, but it gives you an insight into how long they expect their product to last. By contrast, the best performing wood brands such as Accoya wood have been offering warranties of up to 50 years on their product.

Aesthetic

This is always going to be a subjective point, but this article would be incomplete if we didn’t mention it. It needs to be said that uPVC window frames do look a bit….plastic. There is reason why conservation areas across the UK often do not allow uPVC frames, and it’s because of how they look. Where you have Victorian, Edwardian or other period housing stock, uPVC does tend to look out of place. There have been attempts in recent years with innovation to make uPVC look more like wood, but it’s proven very hard to achieve the natural biophilic look and feel that is achieved with real wood.

Overview

It’s easy to be dismissive of uPVC window frames. They have only moderate durability, discolour to an unsavoury patchy yellow colour, and don’t always look the part, but on the other hand they do represent good value for money, especially if you’re only looking to live in the home for approximately 10 years. Having to replace your windows twice starts to become quite expensive, so you really need to decide how long you’re planning to stick around… Bear in mind that having windows that are in a good state of repair can materially affect your house price, so it might not be someone else’s problem after all…

The history of wooden window frames

The history of wooden window frames

Whilst it was the Romans that pioneered the use of glass for windows, wood has long been the preferred choice of material for window frames. The size of one’s window through history has often represented wealth and class, and as window making techniques evolved, so the size of windows has increased. In the seventeenth century the fashion became to have taller, rather than wide windows, and to facilitate this they were often divided into four. In the same century the sash window was invented with the top sash fixed and the bottom sash sliding upwards.

In term of the species of wood used, oak and pine were the two most common, with oak offering better durability than the softwood pine.

Wooden window properties

Wooden window properties

Wood is a natural product which affords both positive and negative attributes. Below is list of considerations to be made aware of before selecting timber window frames:

  • The look. In contrast to uPVC, nothing beats the elegance and natural look of wooden window frames. The frames add character to a building, especially a period property and each window is one of a kind.
  • In the UK we typically paint our windows. This has two benefits – it improves the aesthetic and it protects the wood, meaning the windows last longer. However wood has a propensity to shrink and swell as the seasons change. This movement puts stress on the paint coating, and over time the paint will crack and ultimately flake off. This can look untidy and also let water into the window frame causing decay over the long term
  • Thermal Conductivity. Wood is a terrible conductor of heat, which means it’s a great insulator and will keep the heat and the cold out depending on the season. If thermal conductivity wasn’t enough, wood is also a good acoustic insulator and has proven to be better than uPVC and aluminium at blocking out sounds.
  • Cost. Wooden window frames are never the cheap option. Although some softwood window frames can compete on price with the likes of uPVC, higher end wood species and modified wood brands such as Accoya do come at a higher cost. What drives the relative high cost of wooden window frames however is the labour. Typically it takes approximately 17 man hours to make a timber window frame due to bespoke dimensions and crafting of the wood needed to achieve the required product.
Limitations of wood

Limitations of wood

The very thing that makes wood so good to look at and to touch, is also part of its inherent limitation as a building material… Wood is a natural, organic material which over time and subject to certain conditions like rain will decay or rot. However, whereas all uPVC broadly has the same properties and performance, wood covers a huge spectrum of performance from the cheapest low performance softwood, all the way through more robust hardwoods, and to the pinnacle of high performance and durability – acetylated wood, otherwise known as Accoya. Like we discussed on uPVC, you really need to determine how long you expect to be living in your house… Cheaper softwood window frames might last 7-10 years, slightly worse than uPVC, whereas a hardwood window frame (such as iroko, sapele, or even oak) could be expected to last anywhere from 10-30 years. This would depend on the exposure of the window (to sun and rain), the climate, or even the quality of the wood, which can vary batch to batch. For the belt and braces approach, an Accoya window frame is warranted for 50 years, with an expected service life from between 77-90 years, according to a recent study by the Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh.

Conclusion

Replacing a window is an expensive exercise however when you look at it replacing the same window twice in a lifetime is not just doubly expensive, but also unnecessary. If you pick the right material, you can have the confidence that the window will be doing its job long after you’ve gone… Never has the adage ‘you get what you pay for’ been more true when applied to buying window frames, so make sure you spend the time to research what you need. Go and speak to your local joiner about what they would recommend, and don’t rush into buying a uPVC window just because it looks a bit cheaper – it’s probably a false economy…

What to expect with uncoated Accoya

20.05.2022

Accoya weathering

Accoya weathering

Wood is an organic material, and it changes over time as it reacts with the sun and the rain, developing new colours and textures: a process known as weathering.

Accoya, as a natural wood product, is no different

Like other wood species, uncoated Accoya wood will weather over time to an elegant slivery grey colour when left outside and exposed to the elements.

Unlike other woods however, weathering does not affect the durability, stability or performance of Accoya.

During the weathering transition process the surface colour of Accoya can appear patchy due to the different levels of sunlight and rain coming into contact with the wood, but over time it evens out to a beautiful silvery grey effect that lasts for decades to come.

Because Accoya has such great dimensional stability, coatings are not so stressed by shrinking and swelling forces that affect all other types of wood – meaning they last and look better for longer. For certain applications such as windows it is industry standard for frames to be coated to protect the other parts of the window fittings and mechanisms.

Accoya RoundUp Winter edition 2022

24.03.2022

In this Winter edition we’re pleased to share the latest Accoya production news – including insight into our expansion programme in Arnhem and an exciting update about North America

We also have a new Project Collection that brings together inspiring stories and images from Accoya projects all over the world.

If you have news or case studies you’d like to share for our next issue, please get in touch.

Click here to read our Winter issue 
Click here to signup for future issues and other Accoya news.

Predictions for Sustainable Building in 2022

What will characterise our sustainable cities of the future? In 2020, at 149 exajoules (or 149 quintillion joules), energy consumption for the construction and operation of buildings totalled 36 percent of global energy demand. Down from a peak of 150 exajoules in 2019, it is likely that pandemic lockdowns played a part in this reduction. Now, at a time when the world seems to have stood still for so long, we are beginning to allow ourselves to look forward and ponder on the shape of our future, and the general consensus is that this will begin with growth. As economies emerge from the pandemic, most believe that construction output will return to pre-COVID levels over the next year, and we have an opportunity to ensure that growth is sustainable. Below are our four key predictions for how this might look.

10.01.2022

Sustainable Building Materials

Sustainable Building Materials

Actively guiding the construction industry towards a more sustainable path will not only ensure compliance with tightening green regulations, but improve brand image in an era where sustainability is king. A key consideration is reduction of waste and a more carefully considered stance on the materials we are using. Given that 11% of the energy and process-related carbon dioxide emissions from the buildings and construction sector in 2018 stemmed from manufacturing materials such as steel, cement, and glass, it makes sense to consider a move towards an altogether more eco-friendly choice: wood.

An inherent part of the natural environment, bringing sustainably sourced wood into our built environment champions nature and its fundamental biodegradability, allowing us to balance the need to provide for a growing population with the need to ensure the climate resilience of its future. In fact, the global green building materials market size is expected to have reached USD 364.6 billion by 2022. Of course, in this we must also step away from treating these materials with toxic paints and finishes, ensuring that they are truly biodegradable, and can safely be returned to nature at the end of their life.

Lifelong Wellbeing

Lifelong Wellbeing

Considering the return of wood to nature leads us on to the next key prediction, lifelong wellbeing. We must now be mindful of the entire lifecycle of the materials and building process and, beyond this, the health and wellbeing of those that work on and live in the buildings we erect. The World Green Building Council’s Six Principles for a Healthy, Sustainable Built Environment underlines the importance of the relationship between sustainable development and human wellbeing, detailing how harmony with nature and climate change action is linked to social values, including the health of construction workers.  Buildings made of wood have seen not only construction time, effort, and waste reduced by as much as 90%, but have had a positive impact on construction workers, whose exposure to the dust and toxic fumes of a regular building site is drastically lowered. Furthermore, timber buildings continue to have a positive impact on people throughout their lives as wood surfaces have been found to lower stress levels, improve attention and focus, and increase creativity. With the difficulty of the preceding two years, a movement towards design that benefits wellbeing is likely to be at the forefront of many minds.

Biophilic Design

Biophilic Design

Fundamental to development that centres itself upon wellbeing, is biophilic design. Biophilia, the human tendency to interact and be close to nature, is increasingly being integrated into architecture as we recognise the health benefits that come from a connectedness with the natural world. In fact, in the World Green Building Council’s principles mentioned above, biophilic design is a key tenet of ‘Harmony with Nature’. Not only can we achieve this through the use of wood, which is seen to bring a number of health benefits in itself, but through expanding this by bringing green in.

Net Zero Is Not Enough – Positive Is The New Neutral

Net Zero Is Not Enough – Positive Is The New Neutral

Our final prediction is that net zero emission targets will no longer cut the mustard. With several governments and large companies committing to net zero targets, reducing emissions is a global target. However, with increasing pressure from those who recognise this may no longer be enough, we believe there will be a push towards climate positivity: removing more greenhouses gases from the atmosphere than are released. In an industry that is responsible for a large portion of global emissions, we think companies have started to notice the scale of the positive impact we could have if we pushed for these more ambitious targets.

How Does Accoya Align With These Predictions?

How Does Accoya Align With These Predictions?

At Accoya, sustainability has always been at the heart of what we do. Our products are made out of FSC certified timber grown in well-managed forests that protect the surrounding natural biodiversity. Modified through a process of acetylation, which does nothing more than alter than existing natural compounds of the wood, it becomes more durable, stable, and better performing without the addition of a single toxic chemical. This ensures that not only is its life lengthened, but when this eventually comes to an end, the timber is completely biodegradable or recyclable. As if this wasn’t enough, by the end of their life Accoya timber windows and doors will have helped to remove CO2 from the atmosphere. That’s right, they’re climate positive. So, whilst sustainable materials, lifelong wellbeing, biophilic design, and climate positivity are set to be the four new sustainable building trends of 2022, we hope that by fulfilling every one of these, Accoya becomes the fifth.

6 On Trend Details to Give your Home Exterior a Fresh Look by HOUZZ

Building a new home or updating your façade? Be inspired by these 6 ways to stylishly warm up the exterior with Accoya wood.

20.12.2021

So much attention is paid to the interiors of our homes, but the exterior is what makes the first impression. A beautifully designed façade enhances the architecture and sets the tone and feel of a home before guests even set foot inside. With its warm, natural appeal and virtually limitless design potential, wood cladding has emerged as a major trend in exteriors. Here are six of-the-moment ways to use it to give your property serious street appeal.

1. Opt for a Beautifully Weathered Façade

1. Opt for a Beautifully Weathered Façade

Embrace the natural look with untreated wood cladding that ages gracefully over time. It’s a wonderful way to highlight the earthy and organic beauty of the wood, and helps a home blend in with the landscape.

This stunning lakeside home in Saint Joseph, Michigan, called for a hardy wood cladding that could withstand the constant wind coming off Lake Michigan. Accoya cladding was chosen for its sustainability, durability and superior resistance to weather and rot. Leaving the wood untreated has allowed it to develop a stunning natural appearance that merges with the earthy, natural setting, while creating a pleasing contrast against the home’s sharp black window frames.

While standard wood cladding has its benefits, it’s not suitable for every project or homeowner, as it requires ongoing maintenance and can deteriorate over time. Today you’ll find innovative alternatives that provide all the warmth and natural appeal of wood, with minimal maintenance requirements and far superior durability. Accoya’s acetylated wood cladding can withstand even tough weather conditions, is resistant to rotting, and if left untreated will weather naturally to a beautiful silvery grey.

Accoya wood has impressive environmental credentials too. It’s fully sustainable, and every panel comes with FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification. It is also 100 percent nontoxic, so you can have peace of mind knowing it’s a healthy choice for you and your family.

2. Ditch the Trim

2. Ditch the Trim

Want the focus to be on the shape and form of your architecture rather than individual features such as your windows? Extending your wood cladding right to the window ledges without including a trim, as seen on this home (Ash Tree Residence) in New Canaan, Connecticut, keeps all eyes firmly on the bigger picture while creating a sleek and modern look.

Here, Accoya cladding in Old Town Gray was used to add a modern-rustic feel to the home and highlight the dramatic shape of its gable-roofed entry volume. The large picture windows are trim-free and feature minimalist frames — a clever way to maximize light and views inside the home without overshadowing the bigger architectural story from the outside.

3. Try the Shou-Sugi-Ban Trend

3. Try the Shou-Sugi-Ban Trend

If you’re looking to make a statement with a bold exterior, consider giving your home the shou-sugi-ban treatment. This ancient Japanese technique involves charring the wood to preserve and strengthen it. The charring turns the wood a deep charcoal black while revealing its texture and grain. Not only does this wood treatment make for a striking façade, but it minimizes maintenance.

4. Focus on Natural Materials

4. Focus on Natural Materials

As the saying goes, less is more. Choosing one “hero” natural material and using it in different ways across your home’s exterior can be a subtle, but very effective, way to bring cohesion to your home’s design. To create an uninterrupted sense of flow, you could carry the material through to the interior of your home or to any outbuildings.

The key to success when using a single natural material is to be creative with how you apply it. This award-winning boathouse (The Haven) in Norfolk, England, has been given light-tone Accoya wood cladding, decking and curved screening. As the property is surrounded by water on three sides, the architects selected Accoya wood for its water-resistant properties and dimensional stability, as well as its stunning natural looks and sustainability. The result is a graceful home that sits lightly in its tranquil coastal setting.

5. Play Up Textures

5. Play Up Textures

Natural appeal aside, wood cladding gives you endlessly creative ways to express your personal style. Take this three-story office building designed and occupied by architectural firm Dillon Kyle Architects in Houston, for example. It’s clad in 2,500 Accoya boards that have an abstract leaf-like pattern carved into the wood. The pattern references the oak trees that line the neighbourhood, and it adds not just texture and softness to the modern structure but a unique personal touch.

“The Accoya wood boards are unsealed and allowed to weather over time,” says Peter Klein, associate principal architect at Dillon Kyle Architects. “The idea was to use a material where you couldn’t tell where the patterns started and stopped — just one big continuous object.”

As the wood cladding would play a pivotal role in the look and performance of the building, the firm took their time choosing the right one. “Even left untreated, it didn’t warp or mildew or mould, and that let us know we were on the right path,” Klein says. “The neutral grey tones coupled with its long-term durability, resistance to rot and insects made Accoya wood the ideal material for this project.”

6. Go Skinny

6. Go Skinny

Add texture and depth to your home’s exterior with narrow boards for cladding, louvers and screening.

For this luxury apartment block (Blackwood Street Apts) in Melbourne, Australia, the architect specified 40-by-40-millimeter Accoya wood boards with a coat of Woca Exterior Walnut Oil for the louvers and screening in the alfresco areas. The oiled boards create a soft and inviting feel while bringing a sense of intimacy to the apartment complex.

The rest of the detailing in this spot, including hardware and pavers, was deliberately pared back to keep the focus firmly on the textural wood.

Running slender boards vertically, as the architect has done here, is a clever design technique for making a low roof or ceiling appear higher. You can use this strategy both outside your home with wood cladding and inside with wood wall lining.

If room height is not a concern, consider mixing vertical and horizontal patterns for added texture and interest inside or outside your home.

More: Learn more about Accoya’s range of sustainable, acetylated wood products by visiting our homepage here.

This story was written by the Houzz Sponsored Content team.

The world is your oyster

10.11.2021

Oyster farming in the Southern Hemisphere

In Australia there is a booming industry in oyster farming going back to the 19th century; many of these oyster farms appear in river estuaries along the eastern and southern coast lines of Australia.

The principle is that the oysters thrive on what are essentially pollutants: excess chemicals and nutrients (e.g. nitrogen and phosphorous from fertilisers) that are washed off the land upstream and washed down into these estuaries, where the oysters filter these nutrients out of the water as they live and grow! In some ways then, oyster farming is quite good for the environment.

The oysters are caged in baskets strung between wooden poles and rails. The challenge here is that these are very particular and challenging conditions for timber to perform in. Not only have you got the moisture and the warmth that would encourage rot and decay but there is actually a bigger problem than that: shipworms, that live in salt water. One of a number of animals known as ‘marine borers’, these shipworms can quite easily eat through and undermine the structure of the wood. A nice meal for a few marine borers could break the wooden structures, meaning several very nice (and valuable) pots of oysters floating off out to sea – not a great result.

So, to eliminate the problem, the wood needs to be given qualities and performance to resist rot and shipworms. Traditionally this was done with non-durable or chemically treated toxic wood species or products, until now.

The challenge

The challenge

The challenge therefore is to find a more sustainable, non-toxic and durable alternative for these timber posts and rails.

Accoya wood

Accoya wood

Accoya is created with a different principle: the actual wood itself is changed and enhanced by boosting the presence of molecule groups that are already a natural part of the wood.  It becomes more stable, more durable…and highly resistant (or unappetising) to shipworms!

Partnering with Britton Timbers, a long-standing Accoya distributor in Australia, Accoya wood has been supplied for use for oyster seed trays and posts to Australian oyster farms since 2015 and is currently undergoing a testing programme.

Backed up with a 10-year warranty for this application, Accoya offers a unique solution to the challenge for oyster farms. It is sustainable, non-toxic and has an excellent reputation around the world for many applications, but this application is unique and could change the industry.

Unparalleled performance and sustainability credentials – where it counts

Unparalleled performance and sustainability credentials – where it counts

Testing of Accoya wood, undertaken by Australian Forestry Research Council, has seen posts of Accoya bedded in the estuary assessed over the course of two years between 2015 & 2017.  There was a lot of aquatic life on the Accoya posts – showing its compatibility with the local flora and fauna – but when you clean it off and cut through the posts you can see the Accoya wood itself is pristine and clear of damage or decay with no evidence of shipworms boring themselves in the wood.

In the four years since then there is still good performance from the Accoya with no breakdown or durability issues at all. This test proves the combination of durability and non-toxicity is possible and effective, which over time can allow for the use of Accoya wood to replace the other wood species that have been used traditionally, making it the ideal material for oyster farms across Australia.

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Project Collection now live on accoya.com

25.10.2021

Inspirational projects

The Accoya Project Collection provides an extensive look at some of the most inspirational uses of Accoya from around the Globe. From the stunning architectural design of Barangaroo House in Sydney, Australia to the glorious Banff Observation Deck in Canada.

You’ll find a range of projects showcasing the use of Accoya in Cladding, Decking and Windows & Doors.

Other articles of interest

How architectural cladding can bring in an era of beautiful cities

Architectural cladding is the perfect way to change the look and feel of our urban spaces, bringing nature and sustainability together in our modern city design.

25.10.2021

At a time when vast numbers of people have been confined to cities and towns for extended periods of time, many of us have reassessed our relationship with the natural environment and recognised the benefits we feel from immersing ourselves in the great outdoors. Whilst some have been spurred on to consider lifelong moves to the countryside, most indulge only in temporary escapes, before having to return to urban life. But, what if we can permanently draw the beauty of nature into the fabric of our modern cities?

How have our modern exterior cladding ideas been shaped by the past?

Evidence as old as Anglo-Saxon Britain and 12th century Norway suggests that cladding design is not only confined to the modern age but has been seen to endure throughout hundreds of years. In the 16th century, ‘weatherboarding’ became a popular phenomenon, and in the late 18th century industrial timber production and new technologies popularised the combination of weatherboarding and timber frames. However, Victorian advancements in the production and transportation of brick meant that by the 20th century this had become the major building material and, since then, modernist preferences have moved largely towards the use of metal and glass.

Thankfully, the resurgence of timber cladding architecture now sees it juxtaposed with modern materials across the globe, undoubtedly prompted at least in part by strengthening environmental considerations. Facilitated by its incredible customisability it makes for the perfect mesh of fashionable design and sustainable cladding, allowing us to experience the beauty of nature without leaving the city.

Stunning exterior wood cladding ideas that unite sustainability and durability

Enfield home

This extension in a conservation area of north London is an eye-catching design that succeeds in both standing out itself and subtly enhancing the beauty of the existing brickwork. It does so by making use of three different grades of lightly charred Accoya, creating a sense of depth and sophistication whilst also showcasing the immense design flexibility of these materials. The owner of this stunning home addition can expect their natural oasis to stay pristine throughout their lifetime, and feel good that they’ve chosen a sustainable cladding option that is 100% non-toxic and contains no biocides or harmful chemicals.

 

Barangaroo House

A three-storey restaurant in Sydney’s CBD, was one of the first in the city to use Accoya wood cladding and is a remarkable example of why this natural look is an increasingly popular choice for the beautification of our cities. Nested amongst the modernist city architecture, it makes use of the distinctive Japanese charring technique, Shou Sugi Ban, to create a striking building that breathes life into the otherwise sterile landscape. The Barangaroo project is a globally renowned urban renewal project that has sustainability and well-being at its heart, so it is hard to think of a more fitting product for this than Accoya.

What’s more, is that Accoya is durable across the entire range of climates. Its use in Britain, as seen above in north London, proves a resilience in wet conditions, and Barangaroo House exemplifies its durability in Sydney’s hot and humid summers. This guaranteed sustainability means that not only will this striking example of wood cladding architecture makes this corner of the city more beautiful, it will do so for lifetimes to come.

The American School in The Hague

Yet another magnificent example of how subtly, yet effectively, wood cladding is able to draw nature into our cities. See how the metal and glass of this modern reconstruction of a 16th-century farmhouse blends so seamlessly into the surrounding trees, functioning as an extension of nature that brings a softness into the frame. This project not only uses Accoya wood for its cladding, but also for the windows, doors, and insides of the roof and substructure. Often considered to be the only truly sustainable building material, wood not only stores carbon, but increases the speed of construction, and improves both the physical and mental health of the workers themselves, as well as the building’s subsequent users. When combined with the environmentally focused mission of Accoya, it is not hard to understand wood’s returning popularity.

The brilliance of sustainable exterior cladding materials, such as those provided by Accoya, is their strength and flexibility on a number of levels, allowing for a unique and natural beauty that endures. The wide variety of configurations and finishes, as well as the ability to utilise these tools in any climate, means that we are able to bring little pieces of nature’s charm into our urban spaces wherever and however we please, and facilitate a connection which we are now all the more hankering after.

Where to Buy

You can buy Accoya and Accoya products from our selection of distributors or manufacturers in your region. Use our map search tool to find your nearest Accoya supplier.

Where to Buy

Accoya retains Gold and Platinum Cradle to Cradle® certifications

06.10.2021

Ultra-high performance and sustainable wood product Accoya® has successfully retained its Gold and Platinum Cradle to Cradle® (C2C) status in recognition of the outstanding sustainability credentials across the lifespan of the product.

Cradle to Cradle® certification is awarded by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute and is the leading industry standard for environmental performance and societal impact within construction and joinery.

The retained Gold C2C certification, which Accoya has held for more than a decade, highlights the company’s impressive sustainable wood sourcing strategy, non-toxic product and use of more than 50% renewable energy in production. The separate Platinum certification in the Material Health category recognises that the product poses no danger to either the environment or human health, and is the highest possible certification level.

George Neel, Group Marketing and Communications Director at Accsys said: “We are delighted that Accoya has once again been awarded C2C Gold status. New, more stringent, assessment processes make the re-certification even more reflective of the Accsys’ purpose and values. Our environmental impact is of huge importance to us, from our FSC® certified timber sources to our acetylation process that enables our wood to be safely recycled or incinerated. We’re committed to producing an ultra-high performance product whilst balancing our social and environmental responsibilities and this recognition is testament to the success of this purpose led strategy.”

Accoya is a natural fit for the C2C biocycle while still matching or exceeding the technical performance of non-renewable, carbon-intensive materials such as PVC, aluminium and concrete. It also provides a sustainable alternative to tropical hardwoods, with performance credentials that exceed the most durable species. Manufactured using a proprietary acetylation process, Accoya wood delivers industry leading levels of stability, durability, and sustainability. The product withstands the most extreme external environments, requires very low maintenance and it backed up by 90 years of research and development to provide confidence in its reliability.

Products are reassessed by the C2C Products Innovation Institute every two years, and Accoya wood has now been successfully recertified until August 2023. For further information visit www.accoya.com

Timber transport emissions calculator now on Accoya.com

21.09.2021

As the world needs to move towards a net zero economy, it is an imperative for companies to help their customers and wider society to understand the sustainability impact of their products through clear and transparent information.

To that end, Accoya is supporting our customers to understand the impact of Accoya wood’s transportation emissions through our timber transport emissions calculator.

The calculator allows you to compare the different transportation methods (which includes approximate distances by road, sea and air freights) and uses the weight and volume and the expected lifespan of the different types of wood to calculate annual transport of Accoya wood and other wood alternatives transportation impacts.

Compare the transportation emissions to Brisbane, Rotterdam, London and Virginia to see how Accoya wood’s impact compares to other wood species.

To use the calculator, click here.

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Olympics is here – but which is the most sustainable sporting stadium?

02.08.2021

Sustainable Sports Stadiums

The 2020 Olympics are now underway (in 2021), and sustainable buildings and stadiums are playing their own important roles in today’s world – superstars of a sustainable future! Forward-thinking design and building of these centres for human excellence is perhaps the ultimate way to raise awareness of the benefits and assets of future sustainable buildings, and the positive impacts they can bring not only to the environment but also to people.

Every four years usually sees more athletes performing as well as more people attending, and the contributing countries are feeling the pressure to build more sustainably: these are big investments as well as showcases of national policies and performance, and the buildings are almost as important as the sports being played – and last a lot longer than a 100m sprint! The need for more sustainable buildings is leading contractors to specify more sustainable options to promote sport in a sustainable environment. To fully understand why sustainable buildings and stadiums are so important, we need to look at the benefits and the reasoning behind them.

What are the benefits on building a sustainable stadium?

What are the benefits on building a sustainable stadium?

With the help of sustainable construction and the use of non-toxic materials, many future benefits are being realised. And here are just 5 of the great reasons why building sustainable stadiums promotes a healthier environment1:

  1. Water preservation: because a lot of water is needed in stadiums to water and prepare the real grass pitches, clean the venue or for sanitary reasons, water consumption in stadiums are very high. When considering how to reduce water consumption, green initiatives such as rainwater harvesting and recycling can be considered.
  2. Energy preservation: in order to reduce the use of energy, more and more stadiums are being made to conserve energy consumption, and even being equipped with solar and wind power to provide them with an alternative energy source.
  3. Low pollution: nowadays, more and more stadiums are built with healthier, more sustainably-sourced and recycled materials, such as wood, plastic and paper. With the help of using greener building materials that help fight global resource depletion, the amount of waste and pollution in the environment is reduced and the destructive impacts of construction are minimised.
  4. Financial benefits: by choosing greener and longer-lasting materials for stadiums, environmentally-friendly projects will be
    cheaper in the long run when the maintenance and operation of the buildings are taken into account. Moreover, the value of the project can actually increase over time, while the costs of water, energy, maintenance and insurance premiums can decrease.
  5. Reduced health risks to the community: using non-toxic materials can not only reduce health problems within the community, but also safety risks while stadia are constructed and in use for years after!

Sustainability in sports stadiums

So now that we are aware of the benefits of why it is important to focus on sustainable construction, let’s take a look at the current sport stadiums that have made it to the top of the list of most sustainable sports buildings in the world2.

Amsterdam ArenA, Netherlands

The ArenA, home to Ajax Football Club, is powered by more than 4,200 solar panels and even a wind turbine. The main facility of the Arena is equipped with an amazing energy-generating escalator, an energy storage system using recycled batteries and electric vehicles. And to complete the list, the stadium reuses rainwater by collecting it on the roof to water the pitch while reducing water consumption.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium, USA

By receiving platinum Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification, a global standard for measuring the sustainability of buildings, the Mercedes-Benz professional sports stadium is one of the world’s most sustainable sports venues: it consumes 29% less energy, is equipped with LED lighting and there are around 4,000 solar panels on the roof as a contribution to a more sustainable environment. With its own storm water management system, the stadium can store up to 2 million gallons on site to prevent natural disasters and use 47% less water at the same time. Pedestrian-friendly paths allow supporters to reach the building safely and easily. The stadium even provides a bicycle valet program and electric vehicle charging.

Levi’s Stadium, USA

With not one but two LEED certifications, Levi’s Stadium is one of the most sustainable buildings in the city of San Francisco. The stadium has found a perfect way to highlight innovative sustainability elements by installing more than 1,000 solar elements, solar-powered pedestrian bridges, a solar-paneled terrace and a 27,000-square-metre roof. The stadium has implemented its own materials procurement programme, meeting strict sustainability criteria, and has been able to commit to local food sourcing. In 2018, the stadium promised to fight climate change, which was even recognised by the White House’s Science and Technology Policy Office.

Golden 1 Center, USA

By engaging fans in the message of climate action through their global sports platform and organising “sustainability nights”, the Golden 1 Center has put a lot of pressure on helping to build a more sustainable environment. With the use of 100% solar energy, a water conservation practice to reduce water consumption by 45% and recycling 99% of demolition materials, the stadium has certainly shown its effort to maintain a sustainable stadium. In 2017, the Golden 1 Center was even awarded the world’s greenest and most technologically advanced sports and entertainment facility, and according to Green Project Management, the stadium is among the top 3 percent of high-performance buildings worldwide.

Building a sustainable stadium

Building a sustainable stadium

So now you have been introduced to world’s leading sustainable sporting stadiums, the real question is: How can you contribute to making a sustainable stadium?

As we know, many of the commonly used building materials are made of non-renewable resources, such as PVC or aluminium, which are finite, depleting resources, and often come with heavy energy and emissions costs. Every day, more and more pollution is released and CO2 is added to the surface air. However, our world can also provide us with raw materials that offer a long-term solution to both of these impacts: this material is wood, from well-managed and sustainable forests.

By specifying Accoya wood, you are already one step closer to helping build a more sustainable stadium by selecting it as your material for decking, cladding, windows and doors – frames or any other application. Accoya wood is sourced from fast growing trees and sustainably certified forests and offers many benefits to application-oriented industries around the world! Its high performance, unrivalled durability and sustainable credentials make it the perfect solution; a truly unique combination of qualities.

Thanks to our unique acetylation process, Accoya wood is highly resistant to decay – meaning it lasts and stores carbon for decades, making it a perfect alternative not only to carbon-intensive and resource-depleting materials, but also to slower-growing and unsustainably sourced hardwoods.

Just think about it. Who wouldn’t want beautiful installations from a material that has a longer lifespan while simultaneously increasing global carbon storage and providing us with a climate-proof alternative to concrete, metal and plastic, all for the sake of a more sustainable environment?

And don’t forget; you are opting for a premium product with exceptional stability that can easily last twice as long and require less upkeep than other alternatives – so in the long run the running costs can be much cheaper too.

Accoya wood may not be competing in the Olympics, but it has it’s very own Gold: Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Gold to be precise, marking it as the top performer in the building materials industry.

To give you some inspiration and ideas, let’s look at a couple of the few sustainable projects where Accoya has contributed to a more sustainable world by helping to build a greener sports stadium!

Velodrome

Velodrome

The renovated Omnisport building in the Netherlands, which not only hosts world championships but also local competitions and is a practice track for many future cyclists, was named the world’s first fully sustainable cycling track made of wood: the Velodrome. The Velodrome is the perfect place to watch the world cycling championships with the whole family, as the building has 5,000 seats, giving you the atmosphere as if you were cycling on the track during the race itself!

The building is something to be proud of and will be remembered not only for its exceptional design, performance and unparalleled durability, but also for all the medals it has won. In 2018, the track cycling world championships were held in the Omnisport building, which became the most successful global tournament ever for the Netherlands.

And when you come to think that the indoor Velodrome is breath-taking wait until you see the outdoor Velodrome; adding an extra touch to a cycle track for future cyclists.

Outdoor Velodrome

Outdoor Velodrome

 

The outdoor velodrome, designed by Sander Douma Architects, was specified with Accoya wood for the 200m cycling track in Assen, the Netherlands, making it the perfect place for cyclists to train for their future cycling races while enjoying some fresh air.

The outdoor velodrome not only gives cyclists a feeling of freedom, but also creates benefits for the cyclists by giving them less resistance and more speed when cycling on the track. This is thanks to our unique modification process, which makes Accoya the perfect material for both internal and external applications of the sports stadium.

References

  1. Sports And Environment: Green Initiatives In Stadiums, online source: https://cascadiasport.com/sports-and-environment-green-initiatives-in-stadiums/ [access June 11, 2019]
  2. The 5 most sustainable sports venues in the world, online source: https://www.climateaction.org/news/the-5-most-sustainable-sports-venues-in-the-world [access 04 January 2018]

10 Swimming Pool Decks You Want to Experience This Summer

22.07.2021

Wood swimming pool deck and pool surround for the perfect garden retreat

Swimming pool wood deck design ideas

Wood swimming pool deck and pool surround for the perfect garden retreat

There is nothing better than a swimming pool with wood decking. It’s perfect to cool down on a hot summer day and the ideal place to relax and forget the stress of a busy week. As we swim through the cool water, it’s like we are on holiday and all our worries feel far away. And after, it’s time to take some refreshments on the wood decking by the pool. Ideally, sitting on the wooden pool surround whilst dangling our feet in the water.

Here are some of the best swimming pools with wood decking to get you dreaming this summer. And if you are looking to build your own swimming pool, let’s get inspired by some of the swimming pool deck design ideas…

The advantages of wood swimming pool decks made from Accoya

Swimming pool wood deck designs

The advantages of wood swimming pool decks made from Accoya

Is Accoya the best wood for swimming pool decks?

Accoya wood is the ideal material to build wood swimming pool decks and pool surrounds, due to its high performance and unrivalled sustainability.

Choose natural wood and give your swimming pool decking a special charm; only genuine wood can deliver this authentic look and pleasant feel. In our garden, we also only want to use environmentally friendly materials that are in harmony with nature.

Thanks to its exceptional performance benefits, especially when in contact with water, Accoya is ideal for swimming pool decks. Accoya decking and pool surrounds are very durable, low maintenance and resistant to rot and decay. Accoya wood decking and swimming pool surrounds come with a 25-year warranty, even when installed with direct contact to water.

You can also feel the benefits of Accoya decking: Accoya decking is very barefoot-friendly, as it will not noticeably crack or splinter even after decades.  It also doesn’t get too hot in the sun and remains cool on your skin, perfect to spend hours lingering by the pool.

Here are 10 beautiful examples of Accoya wood swimming pool decks to be inspired by. Let’s take a plunge…

Swimming pool surrounded by wood decking

Swimming pool surrounded by wood decking

In this property in Nottwil, Switzerland, the swimming pool is surrounded by a beautiful Accoya wood deck, which achieves a very harmonic appearance. The wood swimming pool deck and pool surround was installed uncoated and therefore went through a natural weathering and greying process. The grey decking boards look beautiful in contrast with the blue water, especially in such a beautiful evening atmosphere, as in the photo.

The swimming pool deck was supplied by Herzog-Elmiger AG.

Swimming pool made out of Accoya wood

Swimming pool made out of Accoya wood

For this project, wood was not only used for the swimming pool deck but also the pool itself.

Natura specialises in swimming pools and whirlpools that are made entirely of wood. They use Accoya as the solid wood is durable and rot-proof, does not warp and comes with a warranty of 25 years even when immersed in water. Thanks to the high dimensional stability, Accoya can easily withstand high water pressure and ground movements. To ensure that the pool is watertight, Natura has developed a special membrane that is installed below the Accoya wood.

Natural pool surrounded by curvy wood decking

Natural pool surrounded by curvy wood decking

When building this natural pool, it was important to only use natural and environmentally friendly materials. Therefore, Accoya wood decking was used to build a pool surround along with various natural stones. The pool surround and wood swimming pool deck was designed in round shapes, to draw inspiration from natural shapes found in the outdoors. These tailor-made shapes were no problem for the manufacturer, as the brilliant machinability of Accoya mean it can be processed as desired. The Accoya swimming pool deck was installed without coating and will naturally weather and build a beautiful silver-grey patina over time.

This wood swimming pool deck and pool surround was installed by M. Hechenblaickner and its partners.

Photos: ©M. Hechenblaickner

Dark coated swimming pool wood deck design

Dark coated swimming pool wood deck design

In Israel, Accoya was used for the wood swimming pool deck, pool surround and an underwater platform to build this beautiful swimming pool.

Due to the high UV radiation in Israel, coated wood decking usually needs constant repainting. Due to its high dimensional stability, Accoya does not deform, splinter or crack, which puts much less stress on the coating. Homeowners can therefore enjoy their coated decking for much longer before they need to repaint.

The Accoya warranty of 25 years includes applications that are immersed in water, which ensures that the underwater platform will last for decades.

A Blanchon oil was applied to the Accoya wood swimming pool deck boards. The underwater platform was left uncoated and will turn grey over time.

Accoya wood swimming pool deck in the Pyrenees

Accoya wood swimming pool deck in the Pyrenees

A wood swimming pool deck made of Accoya was installed in the French Pyrenees. The project was carried out by Gaius, who choose Accoya for their swimming pool wood deck designs, as they only work with materials that are highly sustainable and have a long service life.

This is a prime example of an idyllic garden retreat that can be built with wood swimming pool decks for inground pools.

Elegant wood swimming pool deck in Puglia

Elegant wood swimming pool deck in Puglia

A beautiful Accoya wood swimming pool deck was built in a private residence in Puglia, Southern Italy. The private residence is part of the Trulli of Alberobello, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which are very popular for tourist visiting the area.

The Accoya decking boards were wire brushed before installation, to achieve a textured distressed looking finish.

More information about the wood swimming pool deck, delivered by Kobel SRL, can be found in this swimming pool decking case study.

Versatile Accoya for wood swimming pool deck and pool surround

Versatile Accoya for wood swimming pool deck and pool surround

Example of creative wood swimming pool decks above ground designs

This wood swimming pool deck in Austria shows the versatility of Accoya, as it’s easy to coat and process to achieve creative swimming pool wood deck designs.

The natural wood was not only used for the swimming pool deck, but also the wooden pool surround. There is even some Accoya cladding on the above ground pool surround, which has two waterfalls embedded, for a special swimming pool deck design. The high humidity and regular contact with water are no problem for the wood decking and pool surround, as Accoya has a 25-year warranty even when installed with direct contact to water. The durable Accoya wood is highly water resistant, and should be chosen when looking for the best wood for a swimming pool deck.

More details about this wood swimming pool deck project from Austrian distributor M. Hechenblaickner can be found here:

photos: ©M. Hechenblaickner

Biarritz swimming pool and wood decking

Biarritz swimming pool and wood decking

A villa in Biarritz on the French Atlantic coast was equipped with a breathtaking wood swimming pool deck and pool surround made of Accoya wood. The project was installed by The Natural Pool Company, who put great emphasis on only using natural materials for their swimming pools and decking. Maintaining the style of sustainability and the C2C philosophy, the decking was installed uncoated and will naturally turn grey over time.
Accoya swimming pool deck in Cannes

Accoya swimming pool deck in Cannes

Accoya was chosen for the wood swimming pool deck and pool surround of the beautiful Villa Carat in Cannes.

Accoya wood was specified by Woodstone Project due to its exceptional performance: It’s very durable, stable, rot free and sustainable, all whilst adding the charm of natural solid wood. An essential benefit was also, that the swimming pool deck is barefoot friendly: Accoya does not splinter or crack and remains cool even on the hottest day.

This wood swimming pool deck was installed using a Grad system, an Accoya partner since 2013. More details about this project can be found here.

photos: ©woodstone-project

 

Accoya wood swimming pool deck for greek dream destination

Accoya wood swimming pool deck for greek dream destination

Accoya was used by Atlas Wood for the wood swimming pool deck in a private residence in Greece.
Accoya was specified by the customer for their pool design due to its many benefits, including superior stability than other woods, Class 1 durability and unrivalled sustainability credentials. Applications such as swimming pool decking, where the wood is often wet and in contact with the ground, require a durable wood that is effective against rot and decay. Accoya is the best wood for the swimming pool deck and the customer is delighted with their new pool design.

Best wood for swimming pool deck

Inspiration for your Swimming pool wood deck design ideas

These breath-taking swimming pool wood deck designs will keep us dreaming all summer and might have inspired to build our own swimming pool with wood deck.
When looking for the best wood for the swimming pool deck and pool surrounds, consider using Accoya. Thanks to its versatility, durability and dimensional stability, especially in contact with water, Accoya lends itself to build tailor-made shapes and dimensions with unique colours and coatings. No matter whether it’s for swimming pool decks for inground pools or for wood decks for above ground swimming pools.
Get in touch with your local Accoya supplier and let them advise you on how best to build the wood swimming pool deck of your dreams.

Where to Buy

You can buy Accoya and Accoya products from our selection of distributors or manufacturers in your region. Use our map search tool to find your nearest Accoya supplier.

Where to Buy

How the products you choose – and the companies behind them – can help the world Build Back Better

02.07.2021

How often do you think about where your products come from? We at Accsys are all becoming increasingly aware that the practices behind the brands matter. Environmental and social impacts, both positive and negative, are associated with everything we buy and use. We have got used to looking for ‘Fairtrade’ on some things – like chocolate, coffee, and clothing – but don’t these factors affect all the products, materials and services around us?

By examining and understanding the impacts they have on the world, progressive businesses can shape the way they do things to ensure that what they do, what they make, and how they act can be a force for good. They can identify and choose to operate in a way that can benefit all types of stakeholders that they interact with, such as their employees, customers, suppliers, wider communities and the environment. Operating sustainably with an informed approach will ultimately help us all Build Back Better, creating stronger and more resilient businesses and having a positive impact on the world, the environment, and the communities around them.

Sustainability and purpose, integral to responsible business

At Accsys, our purpose is “Changing wood to change the world”, and we understand how the ‘green’ credentials of our product feed into overall business sustainability. Changing wood is what we do, changing the world is why we do it, and every time someone chooses to use our Accoya or Tricoya products they are making a decision with a positive environmental impact.

It’s not all just about the product though – to create the product, we have our business, and how we operate can be impactful too.  In 2020, we looked to formalise our approach to sustainability of the overall business by developing our approach to ‘ESG’, which stands for Environmental, Social and Governance – a way of looking at how what we do affects the world and everyone around us. We did our research and engaged with stakeholders inside and outside our organisation, identifying what we call our ten ‘material issues’ for ESG: the ten most pertinent issues to our business.  These issues cover the whole breadth of ESG and they all have a role in delivering on our purpose, act according to our values, and make sure we are doing the right things, in the right ways.

Your choice of products contributes to a more sustainable world

If trees are good for the environment, isn’t cutting them down to make products a problem?

Unsustainable wood can have disastrous impacts – from Illegal logging, deforestation, violation of human rights, biodiversity loss and the removal of natural carbon sinks.

Here at Accsys, we only use timber that has been certified to be harvested responsibly from well-managed forests that are continuously replenished, not damaging the surrounding environment or native flora and fauna. 100% of the wood we use to make Accoya and Tricoya is FSC (Forest Stewardship Council certified), the most recognised global standard for assuring sustainable sourcing of wood.

What does Building Back Better mean for health and wellbeing?

In the developed world, it is estimated we spend more than 90% of our time indoors either at home or at work, and the presence of synthetic materials and chemicals in our products and surroundings can actually have a negative impact on our health and wellbeing. It has also been well-researched that, much like having plants in our offices and houses, having wood around us can have positive impacts on creativity, mood and stress. To make sure we contribute to this, we’ve achieved the highest (Platinum) Material Health rating for Accoya from the Cradle to Cradle Certified Product Standard: it is a certified non-toxic product. Our focus on innovation and technology continues to ensure that our wood is non-toxic, meeting high standards for human health.

What happens at the end of its product life? Can the wood also have circular economy benefits?

As well as lasting for decades (and with a warranty for 50 years for above ground use), Accoya doesn’t contain any plastics or new elements that aren’t found naturally in wood: it’s biodegradable and can be handled in the same manner as raw wood at the end of life through recycling, composting or as a bio-based fuel source (as stated in the company’s KOMO product certificate and further evidenced by SHR – Wood Research Foundation Netherlands).  It can even be up-cycled into Tricoya wood chips, which are used to make high performance wood panels that can last decades more!

What about the transition to net zero economy?

At Accsys and through our flagship Accoya wood product, we believe that our actions and those actions of our customers can help contribute to one of the biggest challenges of our time – combatting climate change and the transition to a net zero economy.

Wood sequesters carbon, meaning that it captures carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and locks it in for its useful life, and the more durable and long lasting wood, alongside its use at end of life, can have a positive influence on the environment. Last year, our products locked in and safely stored around 50,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. This means that everyone involved in the process to use Accoya, from making and distributing it to the owner living with it, has helped take the equivalent of roughly 120 million miles of car driving emissions out of the atmosphere and store it safely in a useful, beautiful product.

Accountability, reporting and communications is vital

Underpinning everything we do, at Accsys, we are working towards the highest standards through our own internal mechanisms around data management, reporting, collaboration, problem solving and sharing of best practices and employee engagement. Alongside our internal mechanisms, we own accountability for our actions through our focus on external accreditations – both to keep us on the right track and to show how we ‘walk the walk’ as well as ‘talk the talk’. Producing a Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Gold product isn’t just an accreditation, it’s about our ethos as a business, which includes the scope of environmental and social issues running through the whole way through our company, culture, values and purpose. Our environmental assessments and accreditations help us to Build Back Better through our processes and our products, and our customers support us in changing the world by choosing our products.

To purchase Accoya, use of search function to find your nearest supplier.

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Accoya® wins at Transform Europe Awards 2021

24.06.2021

Gold and Bronze Winners

Gold and Bronze Winners

The Accoya wood brand from Accsys has won gold and bronze at the Transform Europe Awards 2021.  The Transform awards recognise and celebrate the best of the best in brand strategy, development and transformation – how a company, brand or product’s visual identity, story and proposition can make an impact.

Accoya, the brand of stable, durable and sustainable solid wood won the first place Gold award for “Best visual identity from the engineering and manufacturing sector”, and Bronze for “Best rebrand of a digital property”.

Over the past year Accsys, working with independent brand agency Mr B & Friends, has redeveloped, relaunched and refined its Accoya branding and brought a class-leading website to the world: connecting business and consumer customers to both the product and each other, making the journey from awareness to decision and purchase easier and smoother than ever before.

Pictured right: Kate Gorringe – Mr B and Friends
Laura Keily – Accsys

‘Accoya – a new way of thinking about wood’ shows, tells and illustrates the unique properties and benefits of the product: enhancing the natural qualities of wood while negating its traditional weaknesses, creating a building material that offers distinct advantages compared to tropical hardwoods, plastics and other materials.

Working with its distributors and manufacturers who create end products – such as doors, windows, cladding and decking – from Accoya wood, people throughout the value chain can quickly and easily find the information they need, understand the benefits and proposition of the product, and then find and contact the right vendor for their requirements.

In 2020 Accsys also won Bronze for “Best strategic or creative development of a new brand” for its corporate brand.

See the Transform Awards winners article here.

Pictured left: Jen Neville & Kate Gorringe – Mr B and Friends
Laura Keily & Natalie Davies – Accsys

5 Ways to Transform Your Outdoor Space With Decking by HOUZZ

Make the most of your garden, expand living space and cut down on maintenance with natural wood decking

02.06.2021

Warm weather means spending more time outdoors, a season to enjoy relaxing in the garden on a sunny afternoon or getting together with friends for a meal outside. If you’re looking to better set up your outdoor space, whatever its size, a wood decking can add attractive square footage for lounging, cooking, dining, entertaining and even working. The most dramatic decks can show off your home’s architecture and boost the overall look of your outdoor space.

“Decks are a great extension to an interior living space and can extend the feeling of interior space,” says architect Lisa Bovell, principal architect at McLeod Bovell Modern Houses in Vancouver. Read on to discover five ways that adding natural wood decking can enhance your outdoor space and lifestyle, and learn the advantages of choosing natural, highly durable and sustainably sourced wood as a decking material.

1. Boost Your Outdoor Living Space

Natural wood decking is an ideal transition from your home’s interior to the outdoors. “Decks are a great way to create a seamless connection between the interior and the exterior if the colour of the hardwood flooring on the interior matches the deck beyond,” Bovell says. For this stunning home in West Vancouver designed by McLeod Bovell Modern Houses, the deck’s blonde hue corresponds with the light-toned flooring inside, both a beachy complement to the blue waters of the pool and the inlet beyond. Bovell’s team used board-formed concrete for the siding, which has a softwood grain texture that mimics the natural wood of the decking.

For this project, Bovell selected acetylated wood for the decking — a material chosen carefully to stand up to the climate of the site. Acetylating changes the cell structure of the wood so the cell walls block moisture, reducing the wood’s ability to absorb water. This results in nontoxic wood that’s naturally water- and insect-resistant, is barefoot-friendly and is safe for people and pets.

“We found this product after searching for a replacement for natural wood alternatives for decking material in the challenging climate that is the West Coast of British Columbia,” Bovell says. “Accoya wood is a good choice of wood for the West Coast because there are not any other durable wood options that are hard enough for a durable deck surface.” Additionally, the wood offered by Accoya is sustainably sourced, with a smaller environmental footprint than other decking materials.

2. Enhance Your Home’s Architectural Features

Wood decking is a good choice for any home style, traditional to modern. Whether the wood is light or dark, the surface textured or smooth, decking can complement and enhance the architectural features of your home. One of the best things about natural wood, Bovell says, is the variation in colour and texture between and within planks. “We find that this natural variation creates enough ‘noise’ and beauty as it is, so we try very hard to find a single wood that can be used in all applications and locations — horizontal siding, vertical decking, on soffits, sometimes on ceilings,” she says.

The architects used Accoya wood for the decking, soffit, exterior siding and exterior window screens of this contemporary West Vancouver home. Using the same material for all of these applications enhanced the minimalist look they were after, bringing the focus to the clean lines of the building and the gorgeous view. Choosing a material that would work both indoors and out and stand up to weather exposure was essential to the integrated style.

3. Complement Your Yard

Even if you have a modest-size home, wood decking is a natural companion to any style of landscape or even a view looking out to leafy canopies. At home alongside lawns, flower beds, shrubs and trees, wood decking provides a calming neutral palette for colourful gardens and looks harmonious with green landscaping. Grey is an on-trend neutral colour for decking, letting a green lawn and colourful flowers really pop. One of the advantages of using natural wood decking is that the boards will naturally weather to a silvery grey. If you’re bringing greenery to your deck with potted plants, choosing acetylated wood reduces the chance of water stains left by the pots.

 

4. Express Your Personal Style

Options abound when it comes to colour stains and surface textures for wood decking. You can let your design taste shine with smooth, brushed, charred or even custom textured finishes for a one-of-a-kind look. Bovell prefers a wood’s more natural texture and focuses on stains. “The stain is usually matched to the wood scheme in the interior or exterior architecture and material palette of the house,” she says.

The slight variation in the boards and natural weathering can add subtle texture to an expanse of decking. Additionally, you might like to explore mixing wood decking with different hardscape materials such as cut stone, poured concrete or crunchy gravel, and choose a board colour and finish that ties them together visually. In the same way, Bovell selected a blonde hue to match the hardwood floors of the previously mentioned home, you could select decking to pick up the colours of natural stone in a flagstone path leading to a deck, for a similarly cohesive look.

5. Cut Down on Maintenance

When assessing your garden as a whole, consider the size of the planted areas, including lawns that need frequent mowing and flower beds that require tending, versus areas that are hardscaped. The time that goes into tending lawns or beds, not to mention the irrigation needed, often far exceeds time spent keeping a patio or deck clean and in good condition. So including some areas of decking can not only boost outdoor living space but also the time you have available to enjoy it.

That being said, any deck will need regular maintenance since it’s exposed to the elements. In general, you should sweep it regularly, clean it yearly, repair any damage, and stain or seal the wood surface when necessary. Accoya’s uncoated decks are particularly low-maintenance compared with other decking materials and are made from naturally rot-resistant wood. However, any wood is susceptible to weathering and sealing or staining can help protect it.

The wood acetylation process that changes the cell structure of Accoya’s wood improves the decking’s dimensional stability — the amount it expands and contracts —making it scratch-resistant, helping coatings last longer and requiring less maintenance. “Any stain product that is used tends to last longer on the surface of the material because the wood goes through less expansion and contraction, creating a better barrier to the elements,” Bovell says of Accoya wood decking.

More: To learn more about the benefits of Accoya’s sustainably sourced, acetylated wood decking and choose a style that complements your home and garden, visit our decking page here.

This story was written by the Houzz Sponsored Content team.

Visit the Accoya Houzz account here.

Where to Buy

You can buy Accoya and Accoya products from our selection of distributors or manufacturers in your region. Use our map search tool to find your nearest Accoya supplier.

Where to Buy

Can your environment affect your mental health?

The impact of our surroundings on our mental health.

14.05.2021

Mental health and sustainable building design…

Mental health and sustainable building design…

The past year has been like no other in so many ways, not least because of the little time we have spent in offices, many of us confined instead to our homes. Bedrooms, kitchens and in some cases, bathrooms converted into make-shift workspaces, often competing with flatmates or family members for prime locations or proximity to a Wi-Fi connection. But with restrictions easing and the prospect of spending real face time with colleagues once again a reality, how important are the office spaces we are returning to when it comes to our well-being, and how does your environment affect your mental health?

In the developed world, it is estimated we spend more than 90% of our time indoors either at home or at work. We know how the smallest thing like temperature can affect our comfort in such spaces, and in recent years we have started to become more aware of the other factors that can contribute to more than just our comfort, but our physical health. The biggest break-through in the last decade is probably our understanding of indoor VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and the health risks they can pose. VOCs, are abundant in most indoor areas largely because of their presence in building materials and other products produced by mass industry. The worst offenders here are new buildings that contribute to the highest levels of off-gassing, because of the wide range of new materials emitting VOCs at the same time. This is exacerbated in the winter months when levels of VOCs can be 3-4 times higher than the summer months, due to lower rates of air exchange.

It is now widely documented, that certain materials can contribute to the lowering of VOCs in and around the home or office. It’s probably not a surprise to learn that it’s the man-made materials that serve up the highest levels of these unwelcome compounds into the air. Plastics, adhesives, paint, wood plastic composites (WPC), and resins are all singled out as key villains in the building materials category. Overexposure to VOCs can result in headaches, dizziness or even memory impairment in the short term, but it is the longer-term effects on certain bodily organs and the central nervous system that are still being researched.

Needless to say, not all building materials contribute VOCs, and you don’t have to look far to find a natural and sustainable building material in the form of real wood. A team at the Technical University of Munich recently compiled a report called10 reasons why wood is good for you and the scientific research to back it up’. Looking at the list, what strikes me is the number of reasons relating not just to physical health, but mental health –  a topic and issue that many have experienced and navigated over the last year.

So, with May being officially the month of Mental Health Awareness in the UK, let’s have a look at some of the key benefits from the report that demonstrate how wood can improve our mental health:

1. Less Stress

Perhaps one of the areas with the most comprehensive research is around stress. In short, natural environments and wood in par­ticular help reduce stress and improve wellbeing. Over the past ten years, several studies have come to the same conclusion.

One study8 showed that adding plants or even posters of plants into hospital waiting rooms had the potential to reduce patients’ feelings of stress. Another study9 put 119 students into four different rooms:

  • a room with wood and plants
  • a room with wood and no plants
  • a room with no wood but with plants
  • a room with no wood and no plants

The plants had no influence on the result, but the wood did. Students had lower stress levels in the wooden rooms.

Similarly, the newly refurbished National Oncology Institute waiting room in Bratislava, Slovakia was the location for a 2019 study.10 Visitors were measured for respiration, heart rate, cortisol level and blood pressure before, during and after their stay in the wooden room.

The participants described their emotions as predominantly satisfied or very satisfied and their cortisol levels decreased by 7.5%, implying a stress-reducing effect.

2. Better mood

Most of us feel that wood creates a sense of warmth. The smell, touch and feel of wood are regarded as pleasant and many people have generally positive associations with wood. That’s the result of a 2017 study3 of both building experts and members of the public in five different countries.

In a separate Finnish study6, natural and smooth wooden surfaces were found to be more pleasant than coated ones.

 

3. Stay focussed – natural environment and mental health

Just a few minutes of looking at a natural environment can have significant benefits. A study5 in 2014 investigated people’s ability to control their own impulses. They were given three minutes to look at a natural environment and then given a variety of tests. The results showed that participants had faster reaction times and lower heart rate variability after looking at a natural environment compared to an urban environment.

Another study4 conducted in 2015 tested people in four different types of interior spaces. Each space was furnished in exactly the same way but the structure and surface itself were made from different materials. The spaces were made from CLT (cross-laminated timber), clay, steel and steel retrofitted with clay elements. Those in the CLT and clay spaces had better attention and better reaction times. Participants also evaluated their wellbeing. The spaces with natural elements performed better than the steel container.

4. Creativity boost

In the past ten years, different research groups have come up with the same conclusion: wood grain as a texture positively influences creativity. The most recent evidence comes from a 2019 Slovakian study1 where people were tested in different simulated living room environments.

The surroundings that had the most positive effect on creativity were the ones using both warm and cold colours as well as natural materials such as wood and textiles. These surroundings also had the most positive effect on problem-solving capability, understanding and thinking ability.

On the other hand, the environment with strong colours, artificial wood imitations and synthetic textiles, triggered stress in the participants. The same study also tested people by putting them in front of three different walls and allowing them to touch the wall. Brain activity increased when looking at the wooden wall compared to looking at walls made from chipboard or white laminate.

Back in 2010, a different study2 examined creative performance in different environments and this also showed how exposed wood or stone surfaces have a higher potential for creativity. This was compared to artificially produced surfaces such as drywall, plastic laminate, glass, carpet or synthetic fibres.

Mental health and Accoya 

So hopefully we’ve made the case for the link between mental health, sustainability, and architecture. With people starting to return to offices around the world, now is the time to consider the materials around us and to understand how they are contributing to our physical and mental wellbeing. Small modifications to your surroundings can make material differences to how we feel, with natural wood being a key example. Accoya wood is the world’s leading ultra-high performance, sustainable wood brand used across a number of applications including windows, doors, decking, cladding and much more. Read more about the unique qualities of Accoya and how you can use it in your home.

 


References

  1. Vavrinsky, Kotradyova, Svobodova, Kopani, Donoval, Sedlak, Subjak, Zavodnik 2019: Advanced Wireless Sensors Used to Monitor the Impact of Environment
  2. Design on Human Physiology McCoy and Evans, 2010: The Potential Role of the Physical Environment in Fostering Creativity
  3. Strobel, Nyrud and Bysheim, 2017: Interior wood use: linking user perceptions to physical properties
  4. Bhatta, Tiippana, Vahtikari, Hughes and Kyttä, 2017: Sensory and Emotional Perception of Wooden Surfaces through Fingertip Touch
  5. Beute and de Kort, 2014: Natural resistance: Exposure to nature and self-regulation, mood, and physiology after ego-depletion
  6. Beukeboom et al 2012 Stress-Reducing Effects of Real and Artificial Nature in a Hospital Waiting Room, online source: https://www.researchgate.net/publication/223971340_Stress-Reducing_Effects_of_Real_and_Artificial_Nature_in_a_Hospital_Waiting_Room [access Jul 18 2020]
  7. Fell D., 2010: Wood In the Human Environment: Restorative Properties Of Wood In The Built Indoor Environment. Vancouver: Faculty of Graduate Studies, University of British Columbia
  8. Kotradyova, Vavrinsky, Kalinakova, Petro, Jansakova, Boles und Svobodova, Helena, 2019: Wood and Its Impact on Humans and Environment Quality in Health Care Facilities

New style e-magazine – Spring issue

13.05.2021

Our Accoya RoundUp e-magazine has been refreshed and the Spring issue is out now. This new style of newsletter will be a quarterly publication to summarise our progress and achievements over the previous 3 months. As well as putting the spotlight on our end-users and their outstanding Accoya wood projects.

Key things included:

  • Accsys trading update
  • New sustainability report
  • Global projects
  • New blogs

If you have news or case studies you’d like to share for our Summer issue, please get in touch.

Click here to read our Spring issue 
Click here to signup for the summer issue and other Accoya news.

Pressure treated wood vs. modified wood – A beginners’ guide

21.04.2021

Choosing the right wood
When it comes to choosing which type of wood you need for a project, you might assume it to be quite straightforward… but making the best choice now could save a lot of time, hassle and money later.

So, what do you really know about the differences between pressure-treated wood and modified wood?  What do they mean, and what are the key benefits of one over another?

Wood is something that we all know a little bit about, and sometimes that’s enough. There’s hard wood, soft wood, MDF, and they all have typical uses… but we all also know that really there’s a bit more to it than that.

So, how much do we really know about the oldest building material of all, and – more importantly – how do we know what wood is actually best for a particular application?

 

Cost vs value
We all want the best value for our money, and sometimes that means shopping on a budget in search of value – but often at the expense of performance.

For this reason, most of us have probably heard the term ‘Pressure-treated Wood’ as a ‘cheap’ option, and perhaps ‘modified wood’ or ‘engineered wood’ as the high performance choice… but there is more to consider than the up-front cost and more to ‘cost’ than just money.

The word ‘Treated’ suggests that something has been added to the wood to improve its performance or durability… and if you think that, you would be right.

What is pressure-treated wood?

Pressure-treated wood is normally a soft wood that has been immersed in a liquid preservative within a pressure chamber. The high pressure forces the chemical into the fibre of the wood rather than just treating the surface.

Pressure-treated wood has long suffered from a somewhat bad reputation over the years, due to the chemicals used to treat the wood. If the words ‘chromated copper arsenate’ (CCA) don’t mean anything to you, don’t worry, it doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue.

The problem is primarily to do with the last word ‘arsenate’ – derived from arsenic, probably the most famous poison EVER. ‘Leaching’ of this chemical, where it comes out from the wood, posed serious health risks both to the people handling it and the wider ecological environment with a nasty effect on animals and plants.

But there’s good news: governments around the world, having woken up to the serious dangers posed by CCA pressure-treated wood, have spent the last couple of decades largely banning its production and particularly its use in residential situations.

So, what has it been replaced with you ask?

The most widely used alternative to CCA is something called ‘Alkaline Copper Quaternary’ or ‘ACQ’. As you might expect, ACQ pressure-treated wood is safer than CCA for both humans and the environment, but sadly there is quite a trade-off when it comes to performance.

 

What performance can you expect from Pressure-treated wood?

Like all materials, it depends on where and what you do with them, and pressure-treated wood is no exception. The general consensus seems to be that it should last anywhere from 9-30 years (of course also depending on the level and frequency of maintenance you’re prepared to commit to).

Pressure-treated wood used for decking and exposed to freeze-thaw and wet-dry cycles often last less than 10 years even without proper care and maintenance, however, the same wood out of the elements and carefully looked after has the potential to go the full 30+ years.

Regardless of the situation and care though, you definitely won’t be offered any kind of warranty on pressure-treated wood.

What causes pressure-treated wood to rot?

The decay or rot of pressure-treated wood is sadly an inevitability due in part to the way that the wood is treated. The chemicals added in the pressurised treatment vessel are only able to penetrate so far into the wood, meaning the core of the wood is still technically untreated. This is fine until the construction process starts and you need to cut planks to the correct length. When you cut through pressure-treated wood, you leave exposed ends that are significantly more susceptible to rot.

However, the biggest issue when it comes to decay in pressure-treated wood is a simple one, and the same one that affects completely ‘raw’ wood: moisture.

Although the pressure treatment delays the onset of fungal infestation, it is water that really causes the biggest issues. You only need to put an off-cut of pressure-treated wood in a bowl of water to see it being absorbed in just a few minutes. This causes the wood to swell, and then to shrink when it dies out, which in turn can cause the wood to warp, cup, split or crack – and potentially break the structure of your finished product if the gaps between pieces of wood become large enough. All these cracks and splits allow water to penetrate deeper into the wood, accelerating the effect by preventing the wood from completely drying out, and ultimately creating the ideal conditions for decay.

 

Pressure-treated wood – should you go with it?

Sometimes your budget must govern your decision-making, and for people looking at a low-cost option without much care or need for assured performance, then pressure-treated wood can be a good choice.

If you only need your structure to last for a relatively short time and you’re happy to commit to regular, frequent, and careful maintenance, then pressure-treated wood certainly has appeal.

But, if you’re creating something you really want to last and enjoy for decades to come, then you might want to think about some other high-performance solutions for your deck or other garden and outdoor uses.

 

What is the best alternative to pressure-treated wood?

When you’re going to the effort and expense of creating a deck or cladding a building, it’s important to know that it will last – you are creating it, it is yours, and you want to own and enjoy it for years (or decades!) to come.

Naturally, you also definitely don’t want to be in the position of having to pay for the materials and labour again in just a few years.

What is modified wood?

According to TRADA (The Timber Research and Development Association), ‘wood modification involves the action of a chemical, biological or physical agent upon the material, resulting in a property enhancement effective for the service life of the modified wood’.

It’s a bit of a mouthful but essentially means that the properties of the wood are actually changed by the modification process – enhancing performance by changing the wood itself rather than just soaking or infusing it with other chemicals.

To avoid making this article as impenetrable as modified wood, we’re just going to focus on chemically modified wood, partly because it’s the most well-known, but mainly because it really shows the highest benefits and performance, putting it at the top end of modified woods you can buy.

What’s the science behind chemically modified wood?

Acetylation’ is really the most established, proven and effective form of chemical wood modification. This is where the wood is subjected to an organic reaction with acetic anhydride – essentially vinegar without the water. If you remember that one friend at school who used to soak their conkers in vinegar, you may have an idea of what’s coming…

The purpose of the reaction is to address a part of the cellular structure of wood called ‘free hydroxyls’. These free hydroxyl groups are what water binds to: they allow the absorption and release of water in and out of the wood, causing all the swelling and shrinking, cupping and cracking, damage and decay. The acetylation process converts these free hydroxyls into ‘acetyl groups’ which water can’t bind to – significantly reducing the ability of the wood to absorb and retain water.

All wood actually has naturally-occurring levels of acetyl groups, typically higher in hardwoods and lower in softwoods, which is one of the factors in how durable different species of wood are.

So, by boosting the acetyl levels of the wood to prevent water absorption, acetylation addresses the root cause of many of wood’s potential problems, and offers several key performance benefits including:

  • dimensional stability, so your windows and doors won’t jam or get stuck, coatings will last longer, and there’s much less chance of cracks, splintering and damage from expansion and shrinking,
  • incredible durability, with very high resistance to rotting, decay and even insect or termite damage

With all these benefits you might be concerned that the chemicals used in the process could be harmful or dangerous. While acetic anhydride itself is not very pleasant given it’s very low pH level, it’s only used to modify the wood – the actual finished product is completely non-toxic and is certified safe for humans, animals and the environment.

What performance can you expect from acetylated wood?

Acetylated wood is unrivalled in terms of its durability and stability, especially compared to untreated or pressure-treated wood. Accoya® acetylated wood leads the modified wood industry, and it’s the only wood in the world to offer a 50-year warranty: half a century of guaranteed peace of mind, and industry experts have even stated an expected service life of 70+ years.  It even has a 25-year warranty for use in or underwater, proving its performance even in the toughest conditions.

As with all materials it will still benefit from a bit of maintenance and cleaning, but requirements are substantially reduced, and the impacts of irregular work are considerably less severe.

With these performance properties, it’s no wonder that more and more people, and expert joiners and manufacturers, are selecting Accoya as their wood of choice, for windows, doors, decking, cladding, fencing and other exterior wood applications.

In summary – choose what’s right for your needs

There’s no hard and fast rule in selecting the best type of wood for your needs. As always you will need to balance cost with performance, monetary value with time, effort, ongoing costs and peace of mind.

So, before you start, remember that your choice now is one you’re making for years ahead.

Selecting pressure-treated wood could well be cheaper in the moment, but also a false economy, especially if you’re going to have to replace your construction or project a couple (or even five!) times compared to modified wood.

With enough uncertainty in our lives already, you can depend on the fact that Accoya is most durable and stable wood on the market, and if you want your project to go the distance then you need to build with the best.

 

For more information see www.accoya.com

Where to Buy

You can buy Accoya and Accoya products from our selection of distributors or manufacturers in your region. Use our map search tool to find your nearest Accoya supplier.

Where to Buy

Opinion Piece by Justin Peckham “Game Changers”

In December 2020 I was asked by Futurebuild what innovations have changed the face of the built environment. Looking back over time the game changing products that I believe have influenced our work include:

21.04.2021

Video Conferencing Platforms

Video Conferencing Platforms

Much has already been written about how the business world has embraced video conferencing technology during this pandemic and we’ll all no doubt have personal experience of how it has changed the way that we work, so in many ways this is an obvious choice for a game changer but because the impact will be so far reaching I thought it worth putting in my list.

The world was probably moving towards greater use of video conferencing anyway but there is no doubt that lockdown measures as a result of COVID-19 rapidly increased the speed of uptake. The experience has taught us that we don’t need to travel as much as we used to when we thought it was imperative that we met others face to face and at the same time has made the use of video conferencing more acceptable when before it might have been perceived as a cop-out by those not prepared to make the effort to meet in person.

Sure, face to face meetings are important and I have no doubt that a degree of travel will resume within our businesses once restrictions are lifted but I also think that video conferencing is here to stay and that many of us will end up travelling less and working from home more than we used to, which has got to be a good thing for both the environment and our own well-being.

Acetylated Wood

Acetylated Wood

I make no apology for listing my own company’s products here, Accoya wood and Tricoya (in the form of Medite Tricoya Extreme in the UK). Even if I wasn’t involved in these products I would have them on my list because they are such a great example of how we don’t necessarily need to compromise performance in our bid to use more sustainable products.

Photosynthesis is the best means we have of capturing carbon from the atmosphere and in the form of trees we have natural “production units” that convert it for us into a very versatile building material – wood. Using more wood in construction is vital as we aim for that carbon neutral target, yet so often specifiers choose carbon-intensive man-made materials that they have confidence in over wood because of concerns over the durability and stability of the latter.

Both Accoya (solid wood) and Tricoya (panels) are based on sustainably-grown timber which is tweaked at the molecular level by a chemical reaction called acetylation to vastly improve the performance of the wood in a non-toxic manner, thus locking in all of that sequestered carbon for decades longer than would otherwise be the case in products that are much more reliable and predictable than those made from un-acetylated wood. Both Accoya and Tricoya afford us the opportunity to significantly increase the amount of timber we use in construction without compromising on service life expectations or performance, even in challenging external applications.

LED Lighting

LED Lighting

LED lighting technology has been gradually developing from the early 1960s to the present day so it’s sort of crept up on us rather than taken the world by storm but in my view this doesn’t make it any less revolutionary. The current generation of LED lights offer so many advantages over the older technologies that they have now become the norm for most applications and over time will result in significant reductions in energy use across the world both in-use and by virtue of the fact that they last so much longer than incandescent or halogen bulbs. To cap it all they can be recycled so are a good fit with the circular economy.

 

For more information on other game changing products or technologies see here: https://www.futurebuild.co.uk/game-changers/

Transforming your home into a staycation retreat

With holidays abroad still looking uncertain, thousands of Brits may be spending even more time at home this summer. Even with the ban on international travel set to potentially lift in May, it’s not a sure thing, and up to 90% of UK summer holiday options are already sold out! Here’s some ideas and inspiration for transforming your home into a staycation retreat.

22.03.2021

So, with no beach stays for the foreseeable future, what can you do to make your own outdoor space a treat to spend time in?  It may be easier than you think to create your very own attractive al fresco area to while away the summer hours, whether basking in the sun or enjoying the long evenings. With spring now (just about) upon us and good weather hopefully on the horizon, let’s take a look at four outdoor trends we expect to see this year that will help make houses and homes into luxury staycation retreats.

Invest in the outdoors

As the covers come off this spring, we expect homeowners to once again prioritise their outdoor spaces when it comes to home improvements. Summer lockdown in 2020 saw a DIY boom with online sales of garden and home improvement materials tripling, and this year looks set to be no different.

Whether it’s building a new set of planters or digging new flowerbeds, we Brits love to garden – in fact, 42% of us regularly partake in gardening – that’s a huge 27 million people nationwide. Working in the fresh air of the garden is well known to reduce stress and boost your mental and physical wellbeing, giving you a renewed sense of purpose and achievement (which we can all agree is much needed this year).

We all now have a golden opportunity to spend more valuable time in the garden, and for many, that will mean rolling up the sleeves and getting stuck into jobs like recoating our deck and repainting the garden furniture.

The natural charm of timber decking

The natural charm of timber decking

Timber remains the classic choice for outdoor decking, despite advancements in alternative materials, and it can certainly enhance the look of any garden. Choosing the right timber decking to complement your outside space is critical though, and there are some considerations to bear in mind including a budget, maintenance and style.

Timber is warm and beautiful and can give your garden a natural charm that you just can’t achieve with plastic. It is easily cut and shaped to work around your existing garden features and can be stained, treated or coloured with a vast range of coatings and textures to suit your look. Installation costs tend to be lower than other materials, and depending on your budget, there are plenty of different options, such as softwoods, hardwoods and modified woods such as Accoya®. When it comes to maintenance, more durable species or modified wood are good options with less regular upkeep required to keep your deck looking pristine all year round. Finally, don’t forget that sourcing environmentally friendly timber decking should always be on your radar, so look for the FSC® certification if in doubt.

Escape to the garden office

Escape to the garden office

There’s no doubt that COVID-19 has fundamentally changed the way we work. Although permanent home working is likely to be gradually replaced by a flexible hybrid office/home model as restrictions ease, there will still be thousands of us tapping away on laptops at home this year.  So, it’s no surprise that we’re seeing demand for garden offices soar as workers seek a quiet space outside away from the noise of the house.

Garden offices tend to be entirely separate from the house, fully insulated with heating and built for all weather conditions. Depending on space, they can range in size from a single person room to a fully kitted out office with a built-in kitchen and bathroom. Cheaper than a house extension, garden offices also come with significantly less environmental impact, particularly if built from or clad in sustainable timber.

Get outdoor cooking

Get outdoor cooking

A year of stay-at-home restrictions has elevated the need to fully maximise any outdoor space you may have, improving both functionality and aesthetics. According to Google Trends, searches for ‘outdoor kitchen ideas’ have surged by 60% in the UK since the start of the year, and they’re a great way to extend your available interior space for alfresco socialising with friends and family. If you’re missing that feeling of cooking outside on a barbecue in the early evening sunshine on holiday, this might be one for you.

Outdoor kitchens can be anything from a simple built-in barbecue to a full kitchen with a sink, preparation space and even a fridge. They can be built as a DIY job or made fully bespoke, but when buying make sure you consider durability just as you would with any outdoor furniture which may come under attack from the British weather.

Instead of more vulnerable materials like scaffolding wood, try a kitchen built with Accoya wood or Tricoya MDF board which have both been preserved through a unique acetylation process and will last far longer in wet (and dry) conditions – perfect for an outdoor kitchen that will last for many more summers to come!

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5 Ideas to Steal From These Gorgeous, On-Trend Exteriors, by HOUZZ

Boost your home’s kerb appeal with eye-catching materials, finishes and more

16.03.2021

A beautiful home exterior is like a welcoming smile, lifting your spirits whenever you pull into your driveway or walk up to the front door. Fresh cladding, a pretty new deck and gleaming windows and doors all have the power to put a big grin on your face — and to reduce maintenance. Read on for some inspiration for your own exterior renovation and pick up some material tips along the way.
1. Look to Nature

1. Look to Nature

Embrace the biophilic trend and celebrate your natural surroundings with an unpainted wood exterior. Add a clear coating to preserve the wood’s original hue or let it weather to a beautiful soft grey, as seen on this home in St. Joseph, Michigan. Its acetylated wood cladding pops against the black window frames and is low-maintenance, durable and resistant to rot, insects and fungi.

Acetylation is the process of modifying wood with a concentrated vinegar, “which makes it so that the wood doesn’t stay wet,” says Tim Svarczkopf, a technical manager at Accoya, a company that creates acetylated wood. It reduces the shrink and swell by 75% and allows Accoya to offer a 50-year warranty. “If the wood hardly swells and doesn’t rot for 50 years, the applications are virtually limitless,” Svarczkopf says.

2. Go Monochromatic

2. Go Monochromatic

Exude modern sophistication with a dramatic exterior in a single colour. Ideal for transitional-style homes, like the one seen here one in Bethesda, Maryland, it can work well for a multitude of aesthetics. The key is to vary the tones and textures to bring much-needed depth. The cladding seen here was charred using the ancient Japanese technique of shou sugi ban.

If painted wood is more your style, be sure to choose lumber that won’t swell or shrink too much — movement causes cracks. “The coating is going to last significantly longer that way,” says Ty McBride, a renovator in Oklahoma City. He uses acetylated wood — which is resistant to bowing, twisting and warping — for his projects, keeping maintenance and future repair costs to a minimum. Svarczkopf adds, “It can be used without maintenance of any kind and still not decay. If the owner wants the wood to look nice, they’ll likely want to clean it annually.”

3. Embrace Bold Minimalism

3. Embrace Bold Minimalism

Modern minimalist architecture, with its clean lines and simple colour palettes, continues to pop up in Houzz’s most-saved photos. Impressive use of volume, shape and contrasting materials — such as sleek metal and textural stone — adds visual interest and turns heads.

Acetylated wood decking brings visual warmth to the modern home in West Vancouver seen here, acting as a counterpoint to the expansive glass and rough concrete. While salt crystals may form on the planks, the coastal environment won’t have any effect on the wood itself, Svarczkopf says. The deck won’t splinter and can be enjoyed all year round with minimal upkeep. “Friends who use acetylated wood in coastal regions rave about it,” McBride says.

4. Opt for Expansive Glass

4. Opt for Expansive Glass

Let in the light with large glass doors and walls of floor-to-ceiling windows to create an airy, welcoming look both inside and out. This popular design trick will visually expand your home and connect you to nature and all of its soothing effects. Use glass or thin cable railings on decks to maintain clear views.

The house in Auckland, New Zealand, seen here fully embraces the trend with plenty of indoor-outdoor spaces. Its acetylated wood windows and doors help with insulation and keep energy bills down. The low-density material traps heat in air pockets, Svarczkopf says, stopping it from travelling quickly from the inside to the outside and vice versa. “The density is really great for thermal insulation,” McBride says. “It doesn’t conduct heat the same way as aluminium and vinyl.”

5. Combine Styles

5. Combine Styles

Mix contemporary and traditional styles for a new exterior look that’s all your own. “Sleek” and “simple” are the watchwords of this approach to help you avoid anything too mismatched. Think neutral hues, clean lines and minimal detailing. For example, consider one large picture window instead of multiple mullioned designs.

A modern addition imbues this shingled home in Bellport, New York, with fresh style while preserving its historic character. The new space features simple windows and charred acetylated-wood cladding, chosen for its durability and sustainability. Certified by the Forest Stewardship Council and the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute, among others, the cladding is fully biodegradable. “The waste isn’t going to impact the environment, as opposed to cement board, vinyl or aluminium,” McBride says. Svarczkopf notes, “It’s also a very fast-growing renewable resource and a carbon-sequestering product. The fact that it lasts for so long and needs less maintenance enhances the life cycle benefits.”

 

This story was written by the Houzz Sponsored Content team.

To see the article on HOUZZ, please click here.

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Marking 14 years of the Accoya journey

Today, on 11 March 2021, we’re marking 14 years exactly since the first ever batch of Accoya wood was produced: a milestone in our journey that we’re enormously proud of!

11.03.2021

Since that inaugural batch back in 2007 the world has changed a lot and our business has evolved and grown, but there are at least two things that we have all been able to rely on: the high quality and lasting appeal of our Accoya wood, and the support of our partners.

Over the last 14 years, Accsys has worked with distributors to bring Accoya to the world. We’ve developed partnerships and relationships in Europe, the USA and Americas, Japan and across Australasia to name just a few. Our distributors and manufacturers really are key to our success. Many have transformed their businesses by using Accoya to make long-lasting products which come without the issues and callbacks experienced with other wood species.  It’s one sign of true confidence in the quality of our wood that distributors who were with us from the very beginning are still actively selling and marketing Accoya today.

So, today we’d like to thank all our friends, colleagues and associates and partners – the distributors, sub-distributors, manufacturers and system partners – who have helped us shape the future for sustainable, long-lasting building materials since 2007.  We also want to thank the architects, specifiers, developers and homeowners for choosing Accoya and making the world a more sustainable place – and it’s always a privilege to see our wood showcased in so many stunning designs and settings around the world!

Unrivalled performance

Unrivalled performance

Accoya is made using sustainable, responsibly grown and harvested FSC® certified wood and is Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Gold overall with a Platinum rating for Material Health. Its unparalleled structural stability, incredible durability and excellent sustainability credentials make it a truly unmatched product for a wide range of applications and situations.

Accoya has been used in projects around the world as a high-performance timber of choice for years, and it all started in Scotland back in 2006. The first worldwide Accoya project took place in Glenrothes in Fife, Scotland when architectural designer Gordon Aitkin installed Accoya cladding on his own new family home. For him, sustainability and durability were crucial in the harsh Scottish climate.

When we went back to speak to Gordon ten years after installation, he revealed the only maintenance that he had needed to carry out on the cladding was a light sand and recoat in a small, exposed area.

It’s due to Accoya’s exceptional dimensional stability, barely shrinking or swelling at all, that coatings will last longer even in tough environmental climates. It’s not just up in Scotland that we’ve been able to see first-hand the exceptional performance of Accoya though – there are projects all over the world, from Antarctica to Asia, beaches to mountaintops, and almost everywhere in between. With our commitment to quality, we also have testing rigs set up in Arnhem in the Netherlands that have monitored the performance of Accoya over the last decade with leading coatings company Remmers. After 14 years of exposure, the tests showed no visible coating degradation even with zero maintenance.

A Sustainable Focus

In recent years, sustainability has become a key global focus and the building industry is no exception. Architects, designers and manufacturers now look to use building materials which not only perform well and look good but come with genuine sustainability credentials.

Accoya wood’s green credentials are wide-ranging and well-established,  with its Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Gold status really standing out amongst other building materials. Cradle to Cradle is a globally recognised measure of safer, more sustainable products made for the circular economy. Brands like Google and M&S, for example, are now adopting Accoya for innovative wooden facades because of our unique combination of sustainability and high-performance advantages.

Looking beyond the product itself, last year we launched the Accsys 2020 Sustainability Report.  This sets out our strategy for and approach and commitment to sustainability across all aspects of our business. It really does underline our purpose at Accsys: changing wood to change the world, with today marking 14 years of doing just that.

What’s next for Accoya

What’s next for Accoya

Since that very first batch in 2007 Accsys has expanded our offering in both availability and scope to give even greater choice and versatility to the construction industry. We’ve constantly refined and developed our Accoya production processes and buying options, and developed Tricoya®, many of the Accoya’s long list of benefits to the world in panel form, unlocking vast creative and functional potential for a more sustainable built environment. We’ll be opening the world’s first Tricoya plant this year, an exciting prospect and quite amazing in the context of Accoya’s 14th ‘birthday’!

As we’re celebrating Accoya today though, we shouldn’t forget to also mention that the new www.accoya.com launched recently, with updated branding and a whole new way to see and showcase the product and its uses in stunning detail – as well as simplifying the path to purchase.

So, maybe the question isn’t ‘why is Accoya still a favourite after 14 years’, but ‘why would you want to choose anything else?’

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You can buy Accoya and Accoya products from our selection of distributors or manufacturers in your region. Use our map search tool to find your nearest Accoya supplier.

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“Greenwashing” – Opinion Piece by Justin Peckham

You may have heard of the term “greenwashing”. A play on the term “whitewashing”, greenwashing is the process of conveying a false impression or providing misleading information about how a company’s products are more environmentally sound.

19.02.2021

Consumer Deception

Consumer Deception

Put simply greenwashing is consumer deception. And with consumers in the UK reportedly spending GBP 41 billion on ‘eco-friendly’ products, greenwashing is a growing problem.

This was highlighted last month by the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) with a new probe into misleading environmental claims. The CMA will be actively investigating how products and services claiming to be ‘eco-friendly’ are being marketed, and whether consumers could be being misled. This will be on a global scale – to action this investigation the CMA has teamed up with the Dutch Authority for Consumers and Markets as part of a project with the International Consumer Protection and Enforcement Network (ICPEN).

Greenwashing can appear in a multitude of ways.

To really understand it I have listed several forms that it can take below.

Justin Peckham, Accsys Head of Sales for UK and Ireland

Justin Peckham, Accsys Head of Sales for UK and Ireland

Types of Greenwashing

1. Environmental Imagery: Use of nature-based images such as trees, animals and even just the colour green on the packaging to convey environmental credentials, when the product it is selling is anything but.

2. Labelling: Labels such as ‘organic’, ‘eco-friendly’ or ‘natural’ are easy claims to make, but are they backed up by supporting information that can substantiate these often-spurious claims?

3. Trade-offs: Sometimes the cost of a brand being able to make a claim such as ‘natural’ means that certain non-environmental trade-offs have been conceded, such as exploitative manufacturing processes or working conditions.

4. Brand claims: Certain brands will try and make claims that sound laudable but are either irrelevant or even bogus. For example, a brand might claim that their product does not contain a harmful chemical, when that chemical is already banned, rendering the claim irrelevant.

5. Category positioning: For example, an oil company marketing its premium petrol brand as the ‘sustainable choice’. It might be better for the environment than their other economy brand of petrol, but it’s still petrol…

A recent scandal

Perhaps the most notorious example in recent years is the VW ‘Clean Diesel’ scandal.

The company set out to reverse consumer opinion that diesel fuel was more polluting than petrol and that it actually was responsible for emitting fewer pollutants. This as we now know turned out to be untrue and VW was found guilty of rigging 11 million diesel cars with what has become known as ‘defeat devices’ – intended to cheat emissions tests. Some vehicles were emitting pollutants at multiple times the legal limit.

As well as suffering enormous reputational damage VW was also made to pay the US government $14.7 billion as a settlement.

There are other well documented examples in aviation, fast food and fashion. No industry it seems is immune from this growing trend.

What about construction?

What about construction?

So, it’s clear that greenwashing is a real problem. That’s why I’m so encouraged by the CMA’s announcement. But one element immediately struck me given my role as Accsys Head of Sales for the UK and Ireland – the investigation has a special focus on certain industries, and unfortunately, construction isn’t one of them. The CMA is specifically looking at: (1) textiles and fashion, (2) travel and transport, and (3) fast-moving consumer goods. It’s perhaps interesting to note that these industries as well as being high profile is also very much consumer facing. It’s clear that the CMA is looking above all to protect consumers from being duped. This however shouldn’t detract from our collective responsibility within the construction industry to shine a light on not only the good but also the bad and ugly when it comes to brands making sustainability and eco-friendly claims.

Given the impact of COVID-19 on the construction industry over the last 10 months, it might be argued that we should now be concentrating our efforts on recovery. But few will have avoided the UK government’s mantra around ‘building back better’, (a line also used by the Biden camp in the recent presidential elections). This campaign extends to many areas of the UK economy including our health service and social care, but it isn’t hard to see the relevancy of the campaign when it comes to the construction industry. With social housing and green energy and infrastructure as cornerstones to the #buildbackbetter movement, the construction industry is front and centre in terms of delivering the government’s agenda. But whether you think the UK government is proposing nothing more than glib rhetoric and nice soundbites, it’s worth reflecting on why the construction industry needs to up its game? Some key statistics:

  • 39% of global energy use is accounted for by building and construction
  • 60% of the urban development required by 2030 is yet to be built
  • 73% of people would change their habits to reduce their environmental impact

It’s clear therefore that our industry has a lot to achieve in the next decade. But what is certain is that we will all face increasing pressure from governments, and from customers to deliver products and services in increasingly sustainable ways. This must be done in an honest and transparent way or we run the risk of tarnishing a whole industry in the same way VW has tarnished the automotive industry.

Sustainability at Accsys

Sustainability at Accsys

At Accsys sustainability is at the core of our offering and so I am potentially guilty of being more attuned to certain claims by construction industry brands that have less than green credentials. I’m not writing this piece to name names, but rather to suggest we all need to be collectively responsible in representing the construction industry in the right way.

No doubt some of the mis-selling that exists is not completely cynical. Terms such as ‘eco-friendly’ and sustainable are to some degree relative when compared to the other products in the same competitive set. What brands after all can truly say that they are 100% sustainable? It is also fair to say that the landscape and language relating to the world of sustainability is rapidly changing. What is certainly clear is that ambiguities over language and with government legislation not keeping up with the sustainability landscape, a ‘wild west’ scenario has been created where brands and businesses can come and go, saying what they like on the subject of sustainability with very little risk of repercussion.

Now is time for us all to lead by example, and to set a higher benchmark for the construction industry. In this vein, I’m pleased to announce the launch of the Accsys 2020 Sustainability Report which sets out our sustainability strategy and well as setting a raft of goals and objectives for us to go after in the months and years to come. Most importantly perhaps, is our commitment to transparency and the usage of accurate language and data points, ensuring that our customers really understand our products and the environmental credentials they deliver. It’s an important decade ahead for the construction industry as together we build back better.

Let’s make sure we avoid greenwashing at all costs and be an example to other industries here and around the world.

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How to Choose Wood For Exterior Doors and Windows, by HOUZZ

Searching for external wooden joinery that’s less likely to warp, looks great and is kind to the environment? Read on!

19.02.2021

If you’ve fallen for beautiful timber doors and windows and are determined to add them to your home, we don’t blame you; their timeless elegance will undoubtedly increase your property’s kerb appeal. But before you jump in and start choosing your windows and doors, it’s important to consider the durability, thermal performance and maintenance requirements of your chosen timber designs.

How do you source a timber that looks superb, but requires less maintenance than traditional species and will hardly move or warp? Read on and discover Accoya wood – an innovative product that’s a game-changer for external windows and doors.

Will they stand the test of time?

Will they stand the test of time?

It goes without saying that you want doors and windows that will stay in good condition for years, but how can you guarantee the timber you choose will hardly shrink, warp, or move? Step forward Accoya wood, a modified wood product that uses a non-toxic process to create a product that rivals the performance of the best hardwoods.

Not only can Accoya wood withstand the test of any climate, including the most extreme, it brings unprecedented reliability as it’s more stable than other timbers; it is checked and trusted not to move significantly as a result of changes in humidity.

Bonus tip: With Accoya wood’s 50-year warranty on above-ground timber (surpassing teak), you’ll be safe in the knowledge that your forever home will look good for decades.

Will they keep me warm?

Will they keep me warm?

Original single pane sash windows are notoriously rattly and draughty due to shrunken or swollen frames, and are inefficient at retaining your homes’ heat. ‘But they look so elegant,’ we hear you shout.

Well, don’t fret as Accoya wood’s naturally insulating frames help to lock in the warmth, ensuring your home stays cosy and your energy bills stay low.

Bonus tip: If you’re worried about excessive solar gain, consider fitting wooden shutters or louvres to shade the area. Accoya wood’s shutters and louvres are a good option to pair with Accoya windows, as they’re low maintenance so will retain their looks for longer.

Will they look beautiful?

Will they look beautiful?

Whether you’re going for traditional wooden sash windows frames, bay windows or architectural glazing, the aesthetic appeal of your frames is a key consideration. Accoya wood is easy to work with, so it’s ideal for both period or contemporary joinery, while bespoke sizes and designs offer plenty of creativity, allowing you to have a truly unique look.

Accoya wood’s style benefits don’t stop there. Its naturally light colour affords a wide range of translucent colour options, from light oak to the darkest ebony. The stability of Accoya wood means that black paints can be used with confidence on external applications.

How sustainable are they?

How sustainable are they?

Most of us want to make environmentally friendly choices wherever we can, and by opting for Accoya wood you’ll be doing just that. Its outstanding sustainability credentials start with the sourcing of the raw material that comes from fast-growing sustainable forests, which in turn help combat carbon emissions.

What’s more, Accoya wood is recyclable, so you won’t have to contribute to landfill or any other form of environmental damage. On top of this, Accoya Wood is non-toxic and won’t emit synthetic compounds or chemicals, making it safe and healthy for people, pets and the environment.

To discover more about Accoya, visit their Houzz profile here.

This story was written by the Houzz Sponsored Content team.

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You can buy Accoya and Accoya products from our selection of distributors or manufacturers in your region. Use our map search tool to find your nearest Accoya supplier.

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Windows of opportunity – we compare Accoya against traditional wood windows

25.01.2021

Traditional windows

Traditional windows

Windows are one of the most important features of a house, adding character to any property. Not only are they functional, but they can also further the cosmetic appeal of any property, modern or period, with almost infinite options of styles, designs and specifications

The sash window originated in the late 17th Century and is still a popular feature in Georgian and Victorian homes across the U.K. Despite the changing fashions of glazing configurations and component sizes, the original designs have pretty much remained unchanged. However, timber windows still have their problems.

Keeping up with the maintenance of a typical wooden sash has always been an unloved chore for the homeowner. Generally, with good all round upkeep, sash windows will certainly last for generations but unfortunately, some homeowners cannot afford the expense or time to maintain and re-coat frequently. Some just don’t want the hassle.

Not maintaining or keeping up with a regular redecoration program when required encourages traditional wood to rot. Furthermore, the shrinking and swelling of regular wood are also factors that reduce the lifespan of windows. Therefore when choosing windows, the choice of material is as important as the style. Typically, oak, idigbo, utile iroko, sapele and pine have been the mainstays of the window industry for century’s but things are changing.

Since the introduction of Accoya wood just over 12 years ago, there has been a huge transition away from tropical wood, not just for ethics but also for its outstanding and unsurpassable performance.

Why Accoya windows?

Why Accoya windows?

All Accoya is sourced from managed and replenished forestry winning awards all around the world for its environmental credentials.

Thanks to Accoya’s unparalleled stability, Accoya windows and doors open effortlessly all year round and will continue to do so for decades to come. This lack of movement not only enhances performance but also significantly prolongs the life of coatings, enabling Accoya windows to remain looking pristine for many, many years.

Accoya is a far better natural insulator than any other wood thereby keeping homes cosy and energy costs down. Vastly reduced maintenance costs combined with sustainability makes Accoya windows a solid long-term investment at little cost to the environment.

Where to buy?

Where to buy?

Accoya windows and doors are sold through small to medium sized joinery manufacturers around the UK and Ireland. Many hundreds of joinery companies now use Accoya and have been approved by us for their outstanding service and quality.

From any of these approved joinery companies it possible to source numerous window and door applications including bi-fold doors, sliding doors, french doors, sliding sash windows, conservatories, orangeries, casement windows, front doors plus much, much more.

Many of these companies are listed in our Where To Buy section on our website.
Simply type in your location, choose the application and select either national companies or ones local to you.

We hope you enjoy your new Accoya windows!

Where to Buy

You can buy Accoya and Accoya products from our selection of distributors or manufacturers in your region. Use our map search tool to find your nearest Accoya supplier.

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