Introducing Interwood as new Greek distributor
Located in Elefsina Greece and listed on the Athens Stock Exchange, Interwood is the largest timber and construction wood materials wholesaler in Greece. It was founded over 40 years ago and has more than 150 employees across Athens and Thessaloniki, with a strong focus on investing in innovation and committing to more sustainable materials.
Choosing the best decking material
Build a beautiful deck that will last
Want to spend more time outdoors? Looking for ways to expand your living space and add value to your home? A beautiful outdoor deck can do it all, giving you and your family more room for barbecues, outdoor dining, gardening and stress-free relaxation.
Depending on the size and type of deck you build, a 2019 study by Remodeling magazine found that the addition of a deck is one of the four most valuable home improvement projects you can take on.[i] But design is important, and materials matter when building a deck. Your choice of decking material sets the standard for how the deck will look and how easy it will be to maintain over time.
So, what’s the best wood for decks? Luckily, you have several options, including a product called Accoya.
Top 10 Key Factors to Help You Choose the Best Deck Material
- Deck location, which includes exposure to sun, moisture and insects. Is your deck close to water? Surrounded by trees? Covered by snow in winter? Choose a material that will stand up to the elements.
- Durability is one of those things that becomes more important with time. Look for materials that resist fading, insects, rot, splitting or twisting, and more.
- Maintenance is a deal breaker for most people. Who wants to spend every summer taking care of their deck instead of hanging out on it? If cleaning and resealing your deck every year isn’t your idea of fun, look for a low-maintenance material.
- Ease of replacement becomes important if you need to replace a board someday. How easy will it be to find a match?
- Surface temperature is another consideration. If your deck gets direct sunlight and you want to be able to walk across it with bare feet, make sure the material you choose doesn’t get too hot.
- Appearance is always a consideration. Who wants an ugly deck? Look for a material that matches the look you want in terms of colour, grain, knots, board width and more.
- Ease of installation may feel like it’s only important if you install the deck yourself. But your cost of professional installation will also be higher with some materials than others.
- Sustainability of your deck material is more important than ever. We all know that we can make choices that help the world, and now there are more options than ever before to have a positive impact.
- Cost includes not just the material itself, but for installation and annual maintenance. For example, the cost to reseal a wood deck each year can be costly. Not all materials need the same level or frequency of upkeep, so this can be a significant long-term factor in overall cost of ownership.
- Warranty may not seem important until you need it. And then you’ll be glad you have it.
While you may be tempted to use the same old decking material, consider all of your options.
How do the decking options stack up?
Make the right choice for your deck.
Choose Beauty That Will Last
Your choice of deck materials is a decision you’ll have to live with for a long time. It’s nice to have choices, since each material comes with its own unique advantages. Take the time to learn about your options, then weigh the pros and cons. And if you value beauty, durability, sustainability, warranty and easy maintenance, take a closer look at Accoya.
 Cost vs. Value 2019, Remodeling magazine, https://www.remodeling.hw.net/cost-vs-value/2019/
You might also like
Beach club decking
Brushed Accoya deck
Cabin by the sea
Decking Project Revisited
Accoya selected to renovate the Steenbergen Marina
Olympics is here – but which is the most sustainable sporting stadium?
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?
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
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!
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.
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.
- Sports And Environment: Green Initiatives In Stadiums, online source: https://cascadiasport.com/sports-and-environment-green-initiatives-in-stadiums/ [access June 11, 2019]
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]
Choosing the best decking material
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…
Swimming pool wood deck designs
The advantages of wood swimming pool decks made from Accoya
Is Accoya the best wood for swimming pool decks?
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
Versatile Accoya for wood swimming pool deck and pool surround
Example of creative wood swimming pool decks above ground 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.
photos: ©M. Hechenblaickner
Biarritz swimming pool and wood decking
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.
Accoya wood swimming pool deck for greek dream destination
Best wood for swimming pool deck
Inspiration for your Swimming pool wood deck design ideas
You might also like
Beach club decking
Brushed Accoya deck
Cabin by the sea
Decking Project Revisited
Accoya selected to renovate the Steenbergen Marina
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
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.
Can your environment affect your mental health?
The impact of our surroundings on our mental health.
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 called ‘10 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.
- Vavrinsky, Kotradyova, Svobodova, Kopani, Donoval, Sedlak, Subjak, Zavodnik 2019: Advanced Wireless Sensors Used to Monitor the Impact of Environment
- Design on Human Physiology McCoy and Evans, 2010: The Potential Role of the Physical Environment in Fostering Creativity
- Strobel, Nyrud and Bysheim, 2017: Interior wood use: linking user perceptions to physical properties
- Bhatta, Tiippana, Vahtikari, Hughes and Kyttä, 2017: Sensory and Emotional Perception of Wooden Surfaces through Fingertip Touch
- Beute and de Kort, 2014: Natural resistance: Exposure to nature and self-regulation, mood, and physiology after ego-depletion
- 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]
- 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
- 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
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.
Pressure treated wood vs. modified wood – A beginners’ guide
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.
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
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:
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.
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 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.
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
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
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
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!
You may also like
The sustainable outdoor kitchen
Do you like the idea of cooking outdoors? Bring the holiday feeling to your garden with the ultimate Accoya Sustainable Outdoor Kitchen.
Make the most of a small garden
Oxford Planters have shared their 6 tips to maximise a small garden.
On-Trend Exteriors by HOUZZ
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.
Accoya® selected by the prestigious Cambridge University for unique botanic gardens project
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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!
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!
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
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?’
International Women’s Day
Celebrating the impacts and achievements of female architects
International Women’s Day: a day to celebrate the impressive impact women have had at all levels of their lives and careers around the world.
Today, we are putting some inspiring women from the world of architecture in the spotlight. We’ve asked what inspires and drives them, how they impact society and the world, and what tips they would give for women at the start of their careers. Architects Jessica Ruffler, Liesbeth Janson, Diana Blake, Evelyn McNamara, Mingyuk Chen and Hay-Joung Hwang share their stories.
Based in the UK, Jessica Ruffler has over 15 years of practical experience in the field of architecture. Several years ago she founded her own architectural firm, ArchitectFolk, and has since completed many residential, public and commercial projects in the North West of England. Since childhood, Jessica had been interested in architecture. She grew up with drawing boards, sketches and exciting ideas through her father who worked in the construction industry. The design aspect is what Jessica loved most, and at the age of 9 she knew for sure that she wanted to be an architect.
For Jessica, architecture has many ups and downs. The process from concept to delivery often brings challenges – but that is part of what makes it interesting and worthwhile. What is best, though, is the fact that through her work she has not only made a positive impact on her clients’ families but has also changed their way of life. “I believe that good design is vital to the way we live our lives and that a well-designed home, workspace or public realm can vastly enhance quality of life,” says Jessica, “Architects shape these spaces, the spaces shape communities, and, if delivered successfully, only positivity can come from this.” At the moment Jessica is working on a housing project made from Accoya wood to ensure its longevity in exposed conditions and quality.
In Jessica’s experience, more women in architecture is definitely a positive – and her clients have agreed with that sentiment. For young women, she thinks engaging with architectural training is a great first step and a fantastic career opportunity. Since undertaking her own training she’s seen a vast change in the world of architecture, and a real improvement to the gender balance in architectural training – which is great news, and an achievement anyone should be proud of Jessica is currently entering her 5th year with ArchitectFolk and working on her 90th project.
Liesbeth Janson has been an architect for more than 30 years. In 1993 she started her first architectural firm in Amsterdam, and in 2008 moved to The Hague to found her current practice, Studio Huijgens.
The intersection of social, creative and scientific is one of Liesbeth’s favourite parts of being an architect. The end result is also something tangible, visible, long-lasting and sustainable, and good architecture can have a very real and positive effect on how people live and work. With her focus on private commissioning she has close contact with clients who are also the end users, really connecting the theoretical work to the actual creation of a building and the impact it has.
Liesbeth’s favourite part of her job is that she gets to sketch all kinds of possible solutions for programmatic and aesthetic issues. In addition, she finds it a uniquely fulfilling experience when she is able to physically walk through a building she designed. This is one of her favourite moments during the construction phase: where the design comes to life. Since 2014 she has specialised in working with self-build groups, which for her challenges her architectural skills in the best possible way, because there is freedom to design and create together with the clients. This collaborative approach means she can help them realise their own personal dream house, with the end users becoming co-owners of their environment instead of temporary tenants.
Liesbeth stimulates communities to organise and shape their own green living environment, thereby doing her bit to change the world for the better. Her greatest achievement to date has been to create an entirely green urban renewal complex called FagelCats, in the old centre of Amsterdam. FagelCats consists of a sustainable apartment complex for elderly residents, including special care housing and a large communal ‘healing garden’. “The 100% Accoya garden pavilion is an almost sacred place to meet for all the inhabitants and it is a pearl to look at for the neighbours as well. Realising this project from scratch took around 10 years!”, she said.
We asked Liesbeth what tips she could give to younger women who might also be interested in architecture. She says there are many interesting opportunities and possibilities in the field of architecture and everyone can develop their own speciality, which makes the work personally interesting and exciting. The sense of achievement is also something special to the work: “Honestly, it feels very good to visit or pass your own projects when realised. To see your buildings grow older in their habitat, see how they function, to exchange experiences with their owners or users,” she adds. As a female architect, Liesbeth does not notice any different attitude or extra difficulties in getting the work done even in what has traditionally been quite a male-dominated environment, but hopes that what she and other female architects do and achieve can be an inspiration to future generations.
Hay-Joung Hwang is the director of her own landscape architectural design studio called HAYDESIGNS in the UK. She founded the practice in 2015, focusing on the design of outdoor spaces that combine traditionalism with modernism – from large public gardens and parks to smaller private gardens. After originally studying interior design, Hay-Joung soon realised that her passion for design went beyond indoor spaces. In 2006, she started training as a landscape architect at Sheffield University, and after a visit to the Chelsea Flower Show in London in 2008 she set her ambition and goal to one day exhibit at the show.
One of Hay-Joung’s favourite parts of her work is being able to combine and create new approaches to design. Her “Eco-city” garden project, for example, reflects the increasing presence and dependence on technology in our daily lives – and harmonises it with a growing awareness of the environmental problems and responsibilities we face. With this project, she created a template for environmentally friendly, sustainable and integrated urban architecture: both increasing the quality of life in the modern world and also reducing air pollution by expanding the verticality of green spaces. This commitment to sustainability and ecological responsibility also goes beyond design, as Hay-Joung also takes care to specify sustainable elements in her projects as well as identifying environmentally friendly products and materials to use. This has led to her use of Accoya wood for luxury residential or commercial projects because of its great sustainability, durability, quality and range of selections to choose from.
Beyond environmental sustainability, Hay-Joung also identifies the potential for her work to impact society: “With pressure to work harder and longer hours in the work-place, we need respite from the “daily grind” and to make better use of the spaces we inhabit,” she mentions. One of her biggest successes to date has been designing gardens to enhance the indoor/outdoor living concept, which she is also passionate about.
Something Hay-Joung would like to pass on to younger people is that they should find out what makes them happy, but also stimulating and challenging. For those who may be considering a career in architecture, she adds: “When you know what you want, I think you will know what to do…”
With her own practice, ‘Diana Blake Design’ based in the holiday resort of Whangamata, New Zealand, Diana has been working in the architectural profession for more than 20 years.
From an early age, Diana had childhood memories of her father spending hours laying bricks, mixing concrete and building around her childhood home. In her teenage years, Diana also used to cycle around the city looking for new houses under construction, for which she would devise layouts or build with Lego models.
Specialising in residential projects, retail, hospitality and service industries, her favourite part of the job is being able to bring happiness to her clients’ lives. Seeing a house being lived in and people enjoying the spaces gives her great satisfaction and a great accompaniment to her love of the whole creative process of design.
At the age of 26 she was able to realise her dream by setting up her own agency and managed to overcome all the obstacles, creating a business of which she is very proud, and that has achieved recognition and celebration in the industry with several awards over the years. Combining a personal and professional highlight, her son has also chosen a career in architecture and has now been part of the firm for just over two years.
In Diana’s view, the health of our planet is a big factor in both the world and the industry these days. “I hope I can make a small difference by making more sustainable choices in the selection of building materials and processes, making builders more aware of the amount of waste in the construction industry and how to reduce it, and designing homes that follow the passive house principles to achieve more sustainability”, she said. Diana has chosen Accoya for a number of projects, not only for its appearance, but also for its longevity, stability and the fact that it is non-toxic and able to withstand the harsh New Zealand coastal climate.
As a career, Diana finds that architecture brings together a great combination of challenging, fulfilling and rewarding moments, and is something all young people should at least consider. A passion for design and construction is a good start, and being able to communicate and listen is key. There is always more to learn and there are always interesting developments and changes – but all in all, she says that if anyone might be interested in architecture as a future career they should “Go for it!”
Evelyn McNamara has always had a passion for making and creating things. The idea of learning how to draw and detail things that could be turned into a reality has held a constant appeal to her since childhood. Her motivation led her to establish her own architectural firm, Evelyn McNamara Architecture Ltd, in New Zealand in 2009.
Evelyn says she loves the design and detailing process. Working with the belief that living spaces have a major impact on our lives, our mood and our overall health, the journey she takes with each client is her favourite part of the job and a source of great fulfilment. What has been a huge milestone for Evelyn during her career is reaching a decade in her own practice: “So much hard work has gone into creating a brand and so many wonderful homes have been built,” she said.
For Evelyn, the word ’home’ has so much meaning beyond just the physical structure: our homes have a profound impact on our health and well-being. As an architect, her work changes the world and the lives of the people in it by providing well-designed houses adapted to the needs of their occupants: creating spaces that can act as a foundation of peace and serenity for the lives of their owners. She also believes that architects have a responsibility to ensure that these ‘homes’ are sustainable, so that our planet can be our collective home for many years to come. This has been reflected in a number of projects where Evelyn has chosen to use Accoya, combining sustainable use of wood with performance and durability to create sustainable buildings that will last for future generations to also call ‘home’.
In the sector itself, Evelyn believes it is extremely important to strive for greater equality in the number of male and female architects in practice. Women, men and every individual person has different strengths that can contribute to the industry, so increasing diversity and representation within the sector is hugely positive.
“When I was growing up, I was a bit geeky. I enjoyed my math and science classes, but I also loved visual art”, Mingyuk says, and pursuing architecture allowed her to combine her passion for both science and the arts. Mingyuk is a Senior Associate at Michael Green Architecture (MGA) in Canada, with 16 years of project experience in architecture and several innovative mass timber buildings, residential projects and even airports in her portfolio, with several projects winning Governor General’s Medals in Architecture.
Seeing a project come to life is her favourite part of the job. Bringing a project from initial conception to the end result is not easy, but there is immense satisfaction from seeing the success of a project come to fruition. “Realizing a project sometimes feels like giving birth! A lot of effort, sweat, tears, and occasional swearing are all part of that experience. You have good days and bad days, but in the end, building a successful project that is impactful to the users and the community is extremely gratifying.” Working on the Ronald McDonald House BC + Yukon project in Vancouver was a particular highlight, creating a “home away from home” for 74 sick children and their families.
With buildings accounting for about 40% of global carbon emissions (operational and embodied), Mingyuk feels that architects not only have an impact on the environment, but also influence the fabric of society. Building sustainable – physically and socially – is her team’s mission. Together, they think about the best decisions, not only for people but also for the planet: “How can we design with less? What is the most appropriate material to use? Where do these materials come from? What experience can we offer the users and the community at large? “What kind of story can our projects tell?” says Mingyuk. Accoya wood has been chosen and used in quite a few projects to answer some of these questions, with its sustainable credentials and performance characteristics aligning well with MGA’s value of making a positive impact on this world.
For Mingyuk, it is important for young people to find their passion and go after it. “Because when you love what you are doing, you will find ways to make a positive impact on yourself, the people around you, and the many others you will encounter along the way. When you love what you are doing, it becomes easier to find your own voice.” This is something she likes to pass on to young people – women in particular – who might be interested in architecture.
you may like
“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.
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.
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
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.
Windows of opportunity – we compare Accoya against traditional wood 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?
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?
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!
Cross-laminated timber – Sustainable buildings to reach for the skies
Gone are the days where concrete and steel, with their considerable environmental costs, are the only building materials that can be used to erect skyscrapers. Modern techniques and one of the world’s original building materials mean high-rise buildings can be more sustainable than ever before.
Wood is natural and renewable, and is now enjoying a renaissance with innovative engineering, modification and construction methods: it is unlocking new ways of thinking about constructing tall buildings across the world’s skyline.
Cross-laminated timber (or ‘CLT’) is one of the main engineered wood contributors to the creation of these new ‘plyscrapers’. Interlocking cross laminated timber panels are made by gluing layers of solid-sawn timber together, usually in alternating pattern of orientation to improve structural rigidity. In very broad terms, it’s a bit like plywood but on a much larger, thicker and stronger scale.
CLT panels are strong enough to support high loads, much lighter than concrete and steel, and can even be cut to fit when on-site – including all the door and window openings. This can make the actual construction phase easier to manage, quicker, and logistically a lot simpler.
First introduced in the 1990’s CLT or Cross-laminated timber enables architects or engineers to design and build tall, beautiful buildings, while still being kind to the environment too: as a wood product, it contains and locks in the carbon used by the original tree to grow, safely storing it in a solid useful form in the structure.
There are CLT projects all around the world. Here are just a few examples located in the United States: eight-story in Brooklyn, New York, Carbon12 building in Portland, Oregon and a six-story dormitory at Rhode Island School of Design in Providence.
Discover where you can buy Accoya in your country or region.
The Mjosa tower in Brumunddal, Norway is only 25 feet shorter than the Statue of Liberty! Credit: Metsä Group
Accoya wood has often been used as a ‘perfect partner’ to mass timber buildings: complementing the interior and structural CLT frame with exterior surfaces and joinery that’s incredibly durable, dimensionally stable and resistant to the elements.
Where the choice of materials was crucial and timber was selected and used, the following projects come to mind.
Christies Care Home – UK
The entire structure of the building, including the external walls, is CLT timber combined with glulam columns and beams with Accoya external wall cladding. This project calculated to sequester 180 tonnes of carbon, which in terms of embodied energy, much more than offsets the transport from Austria.
Wood City – Finland
A new building complex, now known as ‘Wood City’, was built in downtown Helsinki, Finland. The complex was developed in two phases, with the first phase consisting of residential buildings and the second phase including a hotel, offices and a courtyard. The buildings are eight stories tall and are fully constructed of wood, including the supporting structures from CLT. This makes the project distinctly different from others and Accoya has been selected as the wood of choice for the exterior cladding due to the project having sustainability at the forefront of its mind.
Wilkinson Eyre Modular village – UK
Designed by WilkinsonEyre, the village can accommodate up to 50 students with visiting staff. The high-quality and energy efficient living pods are prefabricated from cross-laminated timber (CLT), Accoya and other materials for rapid on-site assembly. Arranged in units and rising two to three-stories to create a welcoming social space to the campus alongside the larger industrial buildings.
Building without compromise, sustainability can be truly embedded in our buildings. The option is there to make our monuments to the skies into giant carbon stores instead of high embodied carbon-cost monoliths; to build our biggest buildings out of wooden CLT and Accoya instead of mined, refined and heavily processed aluminium, glass and concrete.
Sustainable Accoya® wood replaces hardwood to enhance ecological habitat in Thames Estuary Environment Agency collaboration
Accoya wood Fenders
- Environment Agency chooses Accoya to replace hardwood for assets that support bio-diversity
- Accsys donated the wood to gather further data on durability and longevity in marine environments, adding to positive testing results from the Mediterranean and North Sea.
Fenders are not only an essential part of flood management assets in the Thames Estuary, they also provide unique bio-diversity niches in tidal waters, promoting healthy and diverse habitats.
Accoya wood, donated by Accsys via its distributor International Timber, is being used by the Environment Agency’s TEAM2100 programme as proof of concept that it can replace hardwood, provide habitat and contribute to achieving the organisation’s Net Zero ambition.
“TEAM2100 is the Environment Agency’s 10-year programme to refurbish and replace flood risk management assets in London and the Thames Estuary. Asset management approaches enable sustainable delivery. Choosing construction options and materials are part of this approach, and material ‘provenance’ is key to delivering sustainably. Certification processes, such as the Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Products Program, help achieve this and permit identification of materials that consider the effects of their production on the environment, minimise energy and water use and aid social fairness. We look forward to observing the performance of Accoya wood as a potential substitute for hardwood.”
Dr Jo Guy, of the Environment Agency and Environment and Sustainability Manager.
Sustainability consultancy 540 WORLD worked with Accsys and TEAM2100 to implement this important sustainability initiative, with a view to more widespread substitution of slow-growing hardwood with fast-growing, rapidly carbon-sequestering and very durable Accoya. The lack of toxic or plastic-based additives to Accoya is vital to its use in these environments, eliminating the risk of potential leaching into the water and environmental or ecological harm.
Each cubic metre of Accoya contains nearly one tonne of CO2e absorbed by certified sustainable forests, and keep that carbon safely stored for decades: it is warrantied for 50 years above ground, and 25 years in fresh water, with previous tests also indicating exceptional durability and integrity in marine environments. This installation in the Thames Estuary will provide further data on long-term performance, adding to the consensus of positive data from sites in the Mediterranean and North Seas.
Used in this project
Belgian chocolate, beer and Accoya
When you think of Belgium you think of Belgian chocolate and beer, but you should also think of Accoya!
Building in Belgium is becoming increasingly sustainable
Due to the increasing popularity of sustainable materials, particularly within the building industry, it is not surprising that many builders are impressed by the advantages of wood.
Wood is a natural building material. It’s fully renewable and has good thermal properties.
Accoya has properties of hardwood but the sustainability credentials of fast-growing softwood. Due to its lightweight, dimensional stability and durability, Accoya wood is suitable for quick installation with the guarantee of a long life. This makes it an ideal solution for new construction, renovations and extensions.
Accoya a new way of thinking about wood
Accoya is a revolutionary, modified and dimensionally stable wood. It delivers remarkable levels of performance and is a product that will stand the test of time.
Accoya wood is made by Accsys at its factory in Arnhem, The Netherlands.
Accsys transforms fast-growing certified sustainable wood into Accoya wood through a proprietary acetylation process. The result is a high-performing product with sustainability credentials greater than those of man-made materials, intensive resource depleting and highly carbon polluting alternatives.
This gives the world the choice to build sustainably, offering new opportunities for the built environment.
Check out these great projects located in Belgium built with Accoya!
Center for Mental Health Care in Sint-Niklaas, East Flanders
This striking construction project is a new building for the CGG Waas & Dender (Center for Mental Health Care) in the Belgian city of Sint-Niklaas.
The offices and consultation rooms are equipped with Accoya for the facade and the exterior joinery.
Accoya was chosen by HA architects for its durability and a better alternative to tropical hardwoods.
Police station in Molenbeek, Brussels
The Police station in the small town of Molenbeek in Belgium was designed by Architectenbureau Emmanuel Bouffioux. After 5 years since the Accoya was installed in 2015, the facade is just as stable and shows a beautiful silver-grey weathering.
During a visit to the Police station, we were particularly curious about the performance of the Accoya wood as this project features challenging lines. The facade was a joy to see.
In projects like this, you truly see just how stable Accoya really is and where we can make a difference. We are convinced that this type of structure with good long-term results is only possible with Accoya.
Xavier Deruyttere- Martal Houtimport, Accoya Distributor in Belgium and Luxembourg
Factory in Avelgem, West Flanders
The Accoya wood is an overwhelming success. Even with the large dimensions of the windows, we have had a marginal effect. That would have been absolutely impossible with any other type of wood. In addition, it is an ecologically responsible type of wood, which is very important to us at our architectural office. Preserved Accoya has durability class 1, which means it will last more than 30 years. Most trees with this durability class have a very long growing time. Accoya wood comes from FSC certified plantations and has a short growing time of up to 30 years. This prevents deforestation, which occurs when more is cut than grows. “
Bart Demeestere – Architect (translated)
Decking in Mechelen, Antwerp
Houben built the new headquarters of the FNG Group in Mechelen, Antwerp. FNG is a Belgian fashion house known for the brands Fred & Ginger, Van Hassels, CKS and Baker Bridge.
The building was designed by Stéphane Beel Architects and is very eye-catching in the Mechelen station area.
The terrace was made of durable Accoya wood that hardly shrinks and swells, so that the terrace remains perfectly stable.
Service center in Merelbeke, East Flanders
The Public Center for Social Welfare (OCMW) in Belgium opened its new service center in December 2019. The architectural firm GWM chose Accoya wood frames, doors and part of the external cladding.
In the application, the wood provides warm accents on the concrete facade. The dimensional stability of Accoya wood makes it ideal for exterior joinery. ”
Cindy de Maaskamp, Architect, Architectenbureau GWM
Grow your sustainable projects!
Anyone thinking of the future must consider wood for construction.
Belgium: Beer, Chocolate and Accoya!
Investing in the right material for your front door
It all starts with your front door
If you want to make your house ‘winter ready’, an important step is to invest in a well insulated, beautiful front door.
This may not apply to new-build homes, given the stricter requirements for more energy-efficient construction of new homes, but this story does apply to existing homes.
You could choose to use special insulation materials and draft excluders, but even then you will be surprised how much heat can be lost from around the edges. That is why, in some cases, installing a new front door is a wise choice.
And you don’t need to compromise on material either. A stunning front door that doesn’t swell or jam is possible with Accoya and worth the investment.
What are the advantages of doors made with Accoya wood?
- Insulation: Accoya doors have a high insulation value due to the insulation properties of Accoya being better than those of other joinery timbers. This keeps the heat inside ensuring good energy savings and a warm and cosy home.
- Stability: doors made of Accoya wood hardly shrink or swell due to the acetylation process, whereby moisture molecules are provided with “vinegar” so that you actually get highly stable and durable wood. This means your front door will no longer be jammed in different climate conditions.
- Ideal for coatings: Coatings look great on Accoya and last much longer, meaning your door will be low maintenance, saving you time and money in the long run. It’s even possible to adjust the color of your front door by repainting to match the on trend colour.
- Natural wood: Accoya is natural wood with many of the same properties, if not even better, than plastic and other woods. The excellent stability and durability exceed the advantages of traditional hardwood front doors, such as oak.
- Sustainable: Accoya entrance doors are sourced from FSC forests and have a long life span. They carry a 50 year warranty against rot and can even be recycled when their life does come to an end.
And don’t forget, your front door is the first thing your guests will see and first impressions count!
You may also like
Old Rectory replacement
Devon, United Kingdom
Shutters for renovation
Accoya replaces Iroko door
The growing presence of Accoya in Arnhem, the Netherlands
Arnhem, in the Netherlands, is a city of makers and builders
These makers and builders have sustainability in mind, and are creating more and more projects with the Accoya wood that’s produced in the city.
In Arnhem we turn timber from fast-growing, renewable and sustainable forests into Accoya wood; from Arnhem this durable, stable product is shipped all over the world; in Arnhem itself you can see the appeal and impact it has on the community.
Royal Burgers’ Zoo Arnhem enthusiast of Accoya
From the world’s largest covered mangrove to the park restaurant furniture and the window frames and facade of the gift shop, Accoya wood is loved by the Arnhem zoo:
“By choosing Accoya you make a sustainable choice. Because of our experience with the wood in previous projects in the park and because we are convinced of the quality, we do not hesitate to use the sustainable wood again”.
- Frank Simon, Technology Manager, Burgers’ Zoo
Jetties, huts, sheds and butterfly cabinet in the “Burgers’ Mangrove”
The 3,000 square metre “Burgers’ Mangrove” is the largest indoor mangrove in the world. Koninklijke Burgers’ Zoo Arnhem based the area on the mangrove forests bordering the coast of the Central American country of Belize.
Mangroves are often known as the ‘nurseries of the sea’, with their unique climate and complex habitat acting as home and shelter to countless animals and species.
In the extremely humid indoor climate, a material was needed that wouldn’t deteriorate from the moisture in the air: Accoya wood, with its unique properties and best-in-class Material Health rating, was the natural choice for the scaffolding, cabins, sheds, porch and butterfly exhibit.
Sustainable refurbishment of old hardwood furniture
The tropical hardwood of the outdoor furniture on the terrace of the Park Restaurant was due for replacement after 20 years. There were two options: new furniture or refurbishing the old furniture. Going for maximum sustainability, the zoo chose to replace the wooden parts of the furniture with Accoya – minimising waste and choosing the durable, sustainable option.
A series of park benches designed as a parting gift to the municipality of Arnhem from former mayor Pauline Krikke. Designed by Arthur Rottier, the durable Accoya wood benches have a 50-year warranty to stand as a lasting memento of her contribution to the city.
Healthy materials for a culinary destination “to celebrate life”
The 600m2 bistro bar and catering pavilion known as FortVier was created by four friends as a place to enjoy and celebrate life. Designed by H²A Architecture and Urban Planning, it features Accoya wood for the cladding, roof, and unique decorative logo. With a largely open and free floor plan the building also has internal folding walls and can be rearranged inside into café, restaurant and party room areas.
“We deliberately chose Accoya because it is the ultimate sustainable product with a natural look.”
- Vivian Trienen, Director of the FortVier College Foundation
Accoya façade and window frames for unique villa renovation in Arnhem
Architect Suzanne Nagtegaal from BuroBois designs with an eye to the future: “Buildings last longer if they are deliberately designed. The sustainability of a building is partly determined by how it is constructed, which materials are used, how it is insulated and how the building is oriented in relation to, for example, the sun.”
Bringing history back to Coehoornpark
With the citizens’ initiative ‘Here once stood a church’, a long-held wish to return the old stained-glass windows of the Kleine Eusebiuskerk Church (demolished in 1990) to their original location in the Coehoornpark has been fulfilled.
Accsys was proud to support this by sponsoring the Accoya wood frames, working with local carpenters and craftsmen to create the unique, colourful and historic gate.
Mayor of Arnhem, Ahmed Marcouch, opens nature walk information board
This Accoya framed information board offers locals and visitors walking routes through the Arnhem nature and recreation area ‘Stadsblokken Meinerswijk’.
“It’s really great to use this wonderful innovative material for Arnhem bottom-up projects. After years in rain and wind, still like new! ”
- Designer Willem Jakobs of Stadsgras
Innovative folding outdoor Accoya bench for cafe Moortgat, Arnhem
Café het Moortgat on the Ruiterstaart in Arnhem has commissioned Collectief Soepel from Arnhem to make a folding façade bench with weather-resistant wood. Offering an unexpected place to rest in front of the cafe, or enjoy a coffee in the sun, the bench can fold away at quiet times. Collectief Flexible chose Accoya because of the beautiful natural appearance of the wood combined with its durability for outdoor use.
Sustainable loft house in the centre of Arnhem
Designed by Hurenkamp architects from Velp, this loft house in the midst of the city uses the pale Accoya cladding sections to create an eye-catching, elegant façade.
Step into a realm of gourmet delights at Foodhall Arnhem
Foodhall Arnhem, located on the Rijnkade in Arnhem, brings over a dozen world cuisines together in one place. The food hall hosts enthusiastic entrepreneurs and culinary talents providing a huge variety of the tastiest meals, snacks and drinks. Welcoming visitors is the beautiful entrance made of sustainable Accoya wood.
Accoya wood in its birthplace
Accsys, the producer of Accoya wood, moved to an attractive new office location in Arnhem a couple of years ago. The new building combines the office and production facilities to form one connected complex, resulting in non-residential construction of more than 19,000m². Hurenkamp Architecten & Adviseurs and Bruil construction company have made modern and unique choices in the materials and finish of the office: from the unique ‘wood cell’ façade to the frequent and widespread use of Accoya and Tricoya inside and out.
Stylish lighting at Kleefsewaard Industrial Park
The walkway to the entrance of the Accsys offices is equipped with designer outdoor lighting: the STRADA by timberlab. It is a lamppost made of layers of Accoya wood, carefully curved into shape for a durable, elegant lighting solution that blends organic materials with modern techniques and aesthetics. Left untreated, the wood will weather over time to a silvered colour as the fixtures become part of the natural environment.
You may also like…
Structural use – DCU
Accoya cladding used for Ravelijn kiosk
Bergen op Zoom, Netherlands
Iconic fountain project
Lincoln Beer Company
Burbank, California, United States of America
Future trends by Accoya
How to make a statement using this versatile material
Hot home exterior trends
Your home’s exterior says a lot about your style. Here’s a look at four home exterior trends we’re seeing.
1. Increased Use of Natural Wood
Home designers are increasingly using natural products like stone and wood – partly because they look good and partly because they want to use sustainable products. Accoya is made using FSC® certified, responsibly harvested wood. It is also non-toxic and contains no harmful chemicals.
Have fun with color
2. Use of Color to Make a Statement
Natural wood is a hot look that is here to stay. For siding and decking, Accoya can be left to weather naturally, leaving a beautiful silver patina. Looking for something more dramatic? Coating your exterior is also a great option. Black and dark-gray exteriors are in right now. In fact, many designers are combining dark colors with natural wood for a stunning result. And interestingly, designers recognize that black can be used to make small structures look bigger.
Because Accoya is made from real wood, it lends itself well to paint or stain. It’s naturally light in color, giving you even more flexibility to be creative with color since it absorbs coatings well. Accoya readily accepts and retains dark colors, which means you won’t have to repaint or re-stain for years.
- Can you stain Accoya? Yes! Many homeowners are going transparent, to retain that natural wood look, which fades to a lovely natural silver-gray patina. But if natural is not your thing, you can stain Accoya any color, even black, using either oil- or water-based stains.
- Can you paint Accoya? Yes! Several designers have used bright, bold hues that help create a statement. Others have gone with classic white for that timeless, modern farmhouse look. You decide.
Make a statement with charred wood siding
3. Using Texture to Make a Feel-Good Statement
One popular way to add texture and drama is with Shou Sugi Ban, a traditional Japanese art of charring wood. The process leaves a beautiful dark charcoal finish on Accoya that complements the wood grain. The practice is well-suited for cladding or siding options because it provides excellent durability that will stand up to the elements. You can use it all over your home, or just to create an eye-catching feature that will stand out from the rest of your home’s exterior.
Stand out with mixed materials
4. Mix it Up
Don’t limit yourself; mixed materials are a hot trend. You can use Accoya wood with board-formed cement, brick, stone or stucco – even all of them if you’re feeling adventurous. Use with any design, from traditional to transitional, modern farmhouse to classic renovation… and everything in between.
So what are the biggest trends?
So, what are the biggest trends we see? That there are no hard and fast rules. That quality and authenticity counts, especially when it comes to the environment. And that no one wants to be a slave to maintenance.
If that’s what you’re seeing on your horizon, then look to Accoya. You can customize it with colors, coatings, textures and treatments to make a neighborhood statement that’s all yours.
Projects you may like…
Washington DC, United States of America
Minnesota lake house
Browns Bay, Lake Minnetonka, North America
West Vancouver, Canada
Arizona private residence
Sedona, Arizona, United States of America
10 Modern Wood Cladding Ideas
Options to set your home cladding ideas apart from the rest.
Think of it as a good-looking coat.
Cladding performance is key. No one wants to wear a raincoat that leaks and your house is no different. Look for cladding with these six qualities:
- Beautiful – almost goes without saying
- Durable – it should last for decades
- Easy to maintain – no one wants to spend their time repainting and staining
- Resistant – able to stand up to rot, decay, and insect damage
- Dimensionally stable – won’t warp or twist
- Warranty – that will protect you for decades
It’s not easy to find a product that meets all these criteria, but one great option is Accoya. Accoya cladding provides sleek, modern protection.
Accoya is one of the hottest wood cladding products on the market. Made using natural wood, Accoya is FSC® certified, made from responsibly harvested wood. Accoya is also non-toxic and contains no harmful chemicals, which leaves your home feeling and looking good.
Home cladding ideas
10 Modern Exterior Wood Cladding Ideas Using Accoya
One of the beautiful things about modern architecture is that you don’t have to follow any rules.
1. Mix your cladding materials
Accoya cladding blends beautifully with other modern materials like concrete, stone and metal. And, because Accoya does not warp, cup or twist, your edges will always remain flat, smooth and true.
2. Go for the natural look, which has a definite modern vibe
Accoya can be left to weather naturally, leaving you with a lovely silver finish.
3. Or, use bold colors
Accoya readily accepts coatings like paint and stain. You can choose light or dark, white or black, and everything in between to coat your cladding.
4. Go exotic with Shou Sugi Ban
Shou Sugi Ban is a popular trend in wood cladding right now, particularly for modern home designs. This traditional Japanese technique of charring wood makes it more durable and gives the cladding a unique black color and burned texture for a long-lasting finish.
5. Vary the siding orientation
You can install your cladding vertically, horizontally, and even in patterns – all on the same home. And, because it is natural wood, Accoya is easy to work with.
6. Mix siding styles
The exciting part is that there are no rules. You can combine traditional narrow horizontal lap cladding mixed with wider vertical boards. Accoya comes in a variety of board widths, and it’s dimensionally stable, so joints stay smooth.
7. Mix textures
Most people underestimate the impact that texture can have on a home’s cladding. Mix rustic, natural wood with charred boards, smooth metal panels or stucco for a signature, modern vibe.
8. Vary dimension
Another technique is to create shadows by alternating board thicknesses. You can even put some boards flat and others on edge to create interesting shadows.
9. Mix things up at the ends
This technique, used instead of corner boards, leaves a decidedly modern feel.
10. Sharpen your corners
Accoya can be fabricated to create knife edges that will perform well and stay sharp over time.
The Sky’s the Limit
The beautiful thing is that there are no rules for modern home design. Accoya gives you the flexibility to do almost anything you want with your home’s exterior. You can be creative, but then you can sit back and relax, knowing that your home will be protected for decades while still looking good.
you may like
Washington DC, United States of America
Shou sugi ban Mistral Restaurant
Philadelphia, United States of America
Jubilee Community Center
Texas, United States of America
Baltimore, United States of America
Guinness Open Gate Brewery
Maryland, United States of America
From stone to stable, sustainable wood: Accoya timber clads Herzog & De Meuron Stadtcasino Basel extension in historic style
After four years of construction, the expanded, renovated and updated Stadtcasino Basel (Switzerland) reopened on 22 August 2020 with 1,100m2 of Accoya wood cladding on the CHF 77.5m extension inspired by the look of the original building’s neo-Baroque stone architecture.
The unparalleled dimensional stability of Accoya wood made it the ideal material to profile, join and coat in a way that could match the original styling from a distance, then offer an interesting surprise up close: discovering it is, in fact, finely crafted and detailed wooden siding, combining the old and the new but with a consistent style.
Herzog & De Meuron architects re-envisioned the Stadtcasino’s Stehlin concert hall as a new, fully independent building. When originally built in 1876, budget constraints severely curtailed construction, and tacked-on extensions in the 1930s did little to help. This meant redesigning the entire west half of the site, developing what was a smaller annex into what now looks like a natural completion of the original design to include an entrance, foyer, backstage area and facilities that the concert hall deserves. While the east side’s historic stone masonry remains intact, the extension uses cleverly profiled and joined Accoya wood for its CHF 1.15m façade.
The architects approached engineers Pirmin Jung AG with a challenge: how to match the style of the original main building but with an interesting, surprising twist. From a distance the similarity is remarkable, but when approaching closer the new extension’s natural, sustainable provenance becomes clearer – the surprise is that it isn’t stone at all, but innovative wooden siding.
Mario Hess, Structural Engineering Project Manager with Pirmin Jung, said: “Accoya wood was chosen to fulfill the constructional challenge, the architectural expectation and the façade’s fine details. Its dimensional stability and durability were vital, and many other materials would be too heavy as well. The way Accoya works with coatings, while still retaining the un-mistakeable look and feel of real wood grain, was a real added bonus for this unique project.”
17 different profiles of Accoya timber were provided by distributor Holzpur AG and carpenter PM Mangold for the siding, and a ‘test wall’ was built to monitor performance of the wood and coating over a period of two years ahead of final construction. This made certain that the look and performance were suitable, and the result is a building with two very different finishes on its old and new halves looking like a single, complete and beautiful design with subtle distinguishing characteristics.
The image on the left clearly depicts the two different surfaces: Accoya wood (left half) and stone (right half) match in a common style.
The acetylation process that drastically improves Accoya’s dimensional stability and durability penetrates throughout the timber without adding toxic elements or chemicals that could leach out. This also means that even the cut faces of the boards could be safely visible, exposed and coated, allowing the precise work and clean, detailed finish that this project required without compromising on either aesthetics or durability.
The Stadtcasino Basel Stehlin concert hall dates back to 1876 and is one of Europe’s most important concert halls. Herzog & De Meuron began the project with an urban study in 2012, and the restoration, preservation and new construction work has been ongoing for the last four years to create a new public space befitting the Barfüsserplatz in the center of Basel.
Architecture: Herzog & De Meuron
Engineering: PIRMIN JUNG Switzerland AG
Accoya distributor: Holzpur AG
Carpenter: PM Mangold AG
Coating system: Keim
Main photo: © Stadtcasino Basel | © Roman Weyeneth
Other photos: © PIRMIN JUNG Switzerland AG
you might also like
The sustainable outdoor kitchen
A sustainable outdoor kitchen for the perfect holiday feeling at home
The outdoor kitchen has been on the rise for years. Indeed in some circles, it is almost common to have one. Though why would an outdoor kitchen suit you?
The first reason is a simple one. Cooking indoors in the summer isn’t always pleasant when we have high temperatures. The second reason; it is much more fun to eat outside than inside. In the United Kingdom, this isn’t always possible due to our changing weather throughout the year but when you get the chance, you usually want to make the most of it.
Practical and easy
Nowadays, there is a choice of outdoor kitchens, so you can choose between a modern or classic style. Most outdoor kitchens consist of a grill, sink, preparation counter, sometimes a pizza oven and for those who want even more luxury, a bar and refrigerator. If you are interested in DIY, you can make it yourself, otherwise, there are enough specialists in this field to make an outdoor kitchen that is tailor-made for you.
The materials of your outdoor kitchen must be able to survive well in all weather conditions. Scaffolding wood is a commonly used option but unfortunately not very durable due to its vulnerability to moisture. A more suitable material is Accoya wood or Medite Tricoya Extreme MDF board. This wood has been preserved through an environmentally friendly acetylation process so that it hardly shrinks or swells and has an outdoor warranty of 50 years against rot. This means that not only can you enjoy an environmentally friendly choice but your outdoor kitchen can be enjoyed by future generations. If you choose a countertop, then limestone is recommended for this. Granite is also a popular option (but more expensive). If you want to create a Mediterranean atmosphere, you can also opt for Portuguese concrete tiles.
A healthier choice
You might almost forget but cooking outside is healthier for us. If you cook indoors, the house can fill with food odours and warm fumes. Of course you won’t be bothered by that outside. In good weather, you don’t have to go indoors to cook a meal, while everybody else enjoys the outdoors. You can prepare and cook a meal on your outdoor kitchen alongside good company. It is also the belief of many that cooking and eating in the garden is just a bit more fun than indoors. With an outdoor kitchen, you also cook healthier because the ingredients are grilled directly above the heat source, without adding extra fat or oil.
So, get the holiday feeling in your garden with an outdoor kitchen and surprise friends and family with the best dishes!
You may also like
NIWA Residence sunshades
Decking Project Revisited
Natural pool decking Biarritz
Investing in biodiversity in a modern, sustainable way
Bees are the foundation of biodiversity
This means that Bees, along with a large number of other insects, ensure that plants are fertilised. Because insects fly from flower to flower in search of pollen and nectar, they can fertilise flowers, allowing the plant to start bearing fruit. This fruit in turn ensures the reproduction of the plant. Therefore, insects play an essential role in the reproductive cycle of many plants.
The number of bees is declining rapidly. Wild bees and solitary bees are struggling in a landscape with less and less flowers.
Beehive: centre of nature, bees, education and art
In the Netherlands, various towns are actively investing in combating bee mortality and providing citizens with education, for example by supporting beekeepers’ associations, installing beehives and creating bee-friendly roadsides.
The beehives are also starting to become more and more beautiful objects in the middle of nature. Made from natural, sustainable and environmentally friendly materials.
The Melarium; Insect houses, bees and art in Delft
If you drive on the A13 towards Rotterdam, the Netherlands, you will see a tall wooden building from a distance, called the Melarium. It is a work of art and used as a centre for nature, bees and art. The building has shutters on the outside as underneath are where the beehives are. Local Beekeepers have a number of beehives inside the Melarium.
The building itself symbolises a bee. “You can see the head, chest and abdomen of the insect. You may also have noticed that it has a lot of small windows. They symbolise the bee’s eyes.” What’s also special is that it is made from sustainable Accoya wood and that the Melarium is completely self-sufficient. “Energy is generated by solar panels and there is a stove where wood from the forest is burned. The toilet is flushed with rainwater: we supply drinking water with jerrycans.”
All 12 Bee colonies from the Beekeepers Association Nijmegen and surroundings have moved to this stable. The beehive is located in the park where beekeepers have been active for 75 years. The design of the new building is based on the solstice and inspired by the shape of the bee. Sustainable Accoya wood has been used for the facade. Specified by architect, Frank Marcus, who is also an active fruit farmer and beekeeper.
This beehive is allowing the local area to meet the wishes of the Nijmegen Beekeepers Association that ‘A bee belongs’ in the Nijmegen city.
Bee a part of it
Towns with a lot of rural areas have a unique opportunity to contribute here.
The effect of installing a beehive is much greater than just “the bees themselves and a little honey.” It can not only be an interesting object, but it is also about people being aware of the fact that a bee is very important for biodiversity and therefore also for our earth, they become interested in the profession but also how they can contribute, like; sow more plants and flowers and use fewer pesticides, etc.
You may also like
Essex, United Kingdom
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Rijssen, The Netherlands
Carbon Neutral Cork House
Berkshire, United Kingdom
Faculty of Forestry
Oregon, United States of America
Mannes the dog
Assen, The Netherlands
Is oak really the best choice of timber for external wood windows and doors?
If asked what they consider to be the best timber for external wood doors and windows, the majority of British homeowners would possibly say oak. The much-loved native British tree is well-known for creating a hard, sturdy and long-lasting timber. And when freshly machined and coated, there is certainly no doubt that it is a really beautiful wood.
For centuries, oak has been used as a building material and there are countless old buildings across the UK where interior oak beams have survived hundreds of years. However, despite all of this, oak is not actually the best material to use for external windows and doors, or any other outside joinery.
Although solid oak has a very good rot resistance, it is notorious for movement and it can be very difficult to maintain that beautiful golden colour over time. Tannins within the timber cause discolouration, and movement within the wood means that it needs re-sealing and coating frequently.
So many homeowners ask if there is a timber that looks as good as oak and doesn’t need as much maintenance when used for external windows and doors? Yes there is and it’s called Accoya.
Accoya is a modified wood product, which uses a non-toxic formula to create a product which rivals the performance of the best hardwoods, while being highly sustainable and ethically sourced at the same time.
One of many the advantages of Accoya is that it is much less prone to shrinking and swelling with changes in humidity than other types of wood, and therefore doesn’t suffer from the movement issues of oak.
And because it is a much more stable timber, it requires far less maintenance than other timbers and does not need to be re-coated as often.
Though Accoya is naturally a lighter colour than oak and has a different grain pattern it can be stained to match the colour of oak such that from any distance it is hard to tell the difference.
An additional benefit of Accoya is that it has significantly better insulation properties than oak, so using Accoya means much warmer rooms, with lower heating bills as well.
On top of all this, Accoya will actually last much longer than oak windows and doors. The results of standard long term tests on the rot resistance of different types of wood show that Accoya outlasts oak and other popular timbers for outdoor use as well.
So, if you want long lasting high performance windows and doors that have the appearance of oak without its problems, then Accoya is undoubtedly the best solution for homeowners.
Click here to find your nearest Accoya supplier.
All photos included are of Accoya wood from Reddish Joinery
You may also like
US German Embassy
Washington DC, United States of America
London, United Kingdom
Restoration of Minnesota State Capitol
Minnesota, United States of America
Teeside, United Kingdom
New Accoya® Website Launch!
A New Way of Thinking About Wood
We want to inform, create awareness, and above all inspire people with what they can accomplish using Accoya® wood, and our new website is designed to do just that.
There are new ways to explore our major applications of windows, doors, cladding/siding and decking, and an extensive (and filterable) projects section that highlights some of the amazing places and buildings around the world that feature Accoya® wood.
We want to provide an online experience that delivers useful, relevant and inspirational content to all our audiences, and helps you find what you want and need through either browsing or searching – and our new ‘Knowledge Hub’ can help answer any questions you may have.
Complementing this, we’ve also made it much easier to buy Accoya® wood for your own project. Our ‘Where to Buy’ section provides you with local and national listings for the distributors and trained manufacturers best placed to help you, no matter where you live or what you want to do!
With this new, more tailored and local focus, we are also now presenting a truly global brand for Accoya. When you first visit the site, you will be automatically routed to your local version of the website – in your local language and showing you the most relevant content. We have started this off with five localised websites for our current largest geographic markets, and are set up to extend this further as we continue to grow.
The new Accoya® website is a big step forward for us as we grow and evolve Accoya® and its brand, and we hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
Accoya chosen for french windows & doors at a country home in Bath
Designed and manufactured by Bath Bespoke, Accoya was selected for the windows and French windows and doors throughout this stunning country home on the outskirts of Bath.
All the windows and doors were completely bespoke and crafted using traditional methods by the team at Bath Bespoke. Working closely with their clients and their selected architects, Bath Bespoke combined a mixture of styles – some sleek, contemporary elements and some period style mouldings to complement the exposed stone throughout the property.
Accoya was chosen as the ideal wood for the project thanks to its seamless quality finish and its ability not to shrink or swell during seasonal weather changes, meaning Accoya doors and windows open and close effortlessly all year round.
Speaking on their decision to use Accoya for the project, creative director Tom Jones-Marquez said:
Being able to stand by our work is key for us and the stability and durability of Accoya allows us to do this more so, than with any other timber”.
What is Accoya?
Is it a bookshelf from IKEA, is it a Japanese dish, is it a tree? Often contractors or architects might not be totally familiar with this high performance wood, but have heard the name and want to know more about it. We hope to be able to answer that question in this blog. Accoya is wood.
We are regularly asked “what is Accoya?”
Is it a bookshelf from IKEA, is it a Japanese dish, is it a tree?
Often contractors or architects might not be totally familiar with this high performance wood, but have heard the name and want to know more about it. We hope to be able to answer that question in this blog.
Accoya is wood.
So why have you never heard of the Accoya tree?
Well that’s because they don’t exist. Accoya starts life as a fast-growing pine tree (Pinus radiata) grown in managed forests. The pine tree is harvested once it reaches maturity at around the 30 year mark. It’s at this point its journey isn’t the same as other timber. We introduce the raw timber to a modification process as a plank or beam, the so-called acetylation process using acetic acid. Read more about acetylated wood here. This process creates extremely dimensionally stable and durable wood.
Accoya® is the brand name of this modified wood.
Accoya wood is highly rot-resistant and very stable across varying climates. Containing no toxic substances as the process simply increases the levels of already present elements within the molecular structure of the wood.
Every piece of Accoya has been modified through to its core, providing the same performance and protection no matter how the wood is cut, planed, drilled, shaped, or more…
This makes Accoya ideal for many applications including window frames, doors, façades, cladding, decking, all without the use of preservatives. Accoya wood is Class 1 durable and surpasses even the most durable old growth tropical hardwoods such as teak.
How is it produced?
The production of Accoya is based on the process of wood acetylation. Scientists have proven that this modification process is an incredibly effective method to improve the technical properties of wood.
Wood acetylation works by changing the cell structure of the wood whereby the cell walls are “blocked” for moisture absorption. This modification reduces the wood’s ability to absorb water in the cell walls by about 80%, greatly improving dimensional stability, resulting in Accoya requiring less maintenance.
The change in cell walls means that insects and fungi do not recognise Accoya wood as a food source and therefore do not attack. Perfect for those parts of the world with termites or other wood eating critters.
Accoya wood is Class 1 durable even in very challenging use environments. The wood is modified right through to the core. Each batch of Accoya is checked for quality by taking 19 samples in Accsys’ laboratories.
Accoya wood is Cradle to Cradle Gold CertifiedTM. This has been awarded to Accoya because it is fully circular. The process adds nothing to the wood that is not naturally present. An incredible sustainability story is shown in the life of Accoya wood. Supported by a 50 year above ground and 25 year in-ground warranty, effectively giving forests time to regrow across the total life cycle of Accoya, where other timbers have a shorter use life vs time taken to grow into logging maturity.
All common paint systems can be used to finish Accoya wood. Testing has been carried out across many different oil and water-based paint systems. Due to Accoya’s exceptional dimensional stability, barely shrinking or swelling, coatings will last longer. They don’t have to work as hard to move with the wood so will sit quite happily with far less maintenance, retouching, refinishing etc. This considerably reduces the number of paint strokes during the life of the window, door, cladding or whatever it may be.
Accoya can therefore be used in any desired project. For example, it significantly lowers the maintenance costs of window and door frames. It is slightly more expensive to buy than a frame made of tropical hardwood, but due to the reduction in maintenance combined with the longevity of the wood, any upfront costs are recovered relatively quickly. Plus, sticking or jamming doors and windows are a thing of the past with Accoya.
Many applications are possible due to the benefits of Accoya wood. The most popular applications are:
Interested in Accoya? Do you want to request a sample or know where you can buy it? Visit our where to buy page to get in contact.
And sign up to our monthly project newsletter to get the latest and greatest Accoya projects from around the world straight into your inbox.
Hopefully you now know what Accoya is. It’s natural, high performance wood.
Accoya® chosen for the restoration of HMS Warrior
HMS Warrior, Britain’s first iron-hulled armoured battleship. Launched in 1860, Warrior was the pride of Queen Victoria’s fleet. Powered by steam and sail, she was the largest, fastest and most powerful naval ship of her day and had a lasting impact on naval architecture and design.
Painstakingly restored in Hartlepool and back home in Portsmouth since 1987, Warrior is a unique survivor of the once formidable Victorian Black Battlefleet and now serves as a museum ship.
The ship has more recently undergone a major restoration using large volumes of Accoya for replacing the gunwales and other parts of the ship that had slipped into a poor state. Accoya wood was selected due to its durability, ability to withstand extreme conditions and its dimensional stability, making it an ideal material for projects such as this.
To further enhance Accoya’s aesthetic, Remmers waterborne Sealing Primer, SW-910 end grain sealer and Compact Opaque PU brushing system was applied.
WHERE TO BUY ACCOYAfor your next project
What type of Product are you interested in?//=__('Select application type', 'accoya')?>
- - Select product type -
FIND A SUPPLIER
FIND A INSTALLERfor your next project
What type of are you interested in? (optional)
How will your be used?
- - Select type -