Accoya and the Circular Economy (C2C) – a perfect fit!
By significantly enhancing the durability and dimensional stability of fast-growing, abundantly available certified wood species, Accoya® sustainable woods provides compelling environmental advantages over scarce slow growing hardwoods, woods treated with toxic chemicals, and non-renewable carbon-intensive materials such as plastics, steel and concrete. The sustainability of wood varies, but the certifications that Accoya has been awarded provides assurance that our product is truly sustainable.
As a result of increasing global population and consumption, and a linear make-take-waste economy, our planet is overexploited resulting in depletion of the world natural resources, a huge waste problem, toxic emissions and ultimately global warming.
Against this backdrop it seems unimaginable to keep mass consuming carbon intensive materials from non-renewable resources such as plastics, concrete and metals. Although there are various initiatives within the concept of the circular economy that emphasize closing the loop of the so-called technical cycle for non renewable materials, in reality this is more an exception to the rule than current practice, see also the Sustainability Comparison.
Essentially, renewable materials produced in the biosphere (bio-cycle of the circular economy) have three huge ‘green’ benefits over techno-cycle materials:
- They are renewable (if managed well; an unlimited source of resource)
- They have a very low, possibly even negative carbon footprint
- If designed well (bio-cycle compliant additives, coatings & adhesives), they are biodegradable, returning back into the bio-cycle becoming nutrients for new plants/trees.
LINEAR ECONOMY BASED ON NON-RENEWABLE MATERIALS
BIOBASED ECONOMY FROM RENEWABLE MATERIALS
However, often techno-cycle materials are preferred over bio-cycle materials because of their superior technical performance. With Accoya® there is now a fully bio-cycle compliant material, including the associated green benefits – that matches the technical performance of techno-cycle materials.
Accoya® – C2C Gold and C2C Platinum (Material Health) certified!
Cradle to Cradle (C2C) is a design philosophy developed by Michael Braungart and William McDonough inspired by the circular economy concept. Since 2005 the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ product standard was developed and has been highly adopted in Western markets as being the most stringent product certification fitting with the incentives of the circular economy.
Through the certification process the C2C product standard steers designers and manufacturers through a continuous environmental and social improvement process in which the product is assessed in five categories; material health, material recycling, renewable energy and carbon management, water management and social responsibility.
Accsys Group’s acetylation process that is used to manufacture Accoya®, fits perfectly in the bio-cycle of the C2C concept. Through the acetylation process, the part of wood that readily bonds with water is replaced by acetyl groups which are naturally occurring especially in the more durable wood species. Thus, the acetylation process mimics nature, and without adding any toxic substances, it ensures performance and material health to the highest level possible under C2C standards: the platinum level for which it has received a separate award.
Also at end-of-use, Accoya® provides no challenges whatsoever. It can be treated similar to untreated wood and thus can be re- or upcycled in various ways. Therefore it comes as no surprise that Accoya® has been certified at the C2C Gold level since 2010, as the only structural building material around.
It is for these reasons that Accoya® is prescribed in many C2C inspired projects such as the new C2C office of the Municipality of Venlo, Early childhood center in Wassenaar by the famous Dutch architectural firm Kraaijvanger, and the first C2C inspired business park 2020 in Hoofddorp by Delta Development. Furthermore, Accsys Group is actively supporting the Built Positive movement initiated by the C2C Product Innovation Institute, to further promote the adoption of C2C design principles in the Built Environment.
Additional credits for Green Building Certification
A large benefit of C2C certification is that, especially at the higher certification levels (Gold & Platinum) it contributes to several credits in recognized Green Building Schemes such as LEED and BREEAM.
Since 2015 a new breakthrough occurred when Google adopted C2C Material health as one of the compliant certification schemes within Portico, Google’s Healthy Materials Program tool.
As Accoya® received C2C Material Health certification at the highest, Platinum, level it is now amongst the most highly rated products in Google’s Portico, earning 15 out of 16 points. This highlights Accoya® as an optimised product with a product status that exceeds criteria for any Google construction project throughout the globe.