Why wood is the most sustainable building material

21.03.2023

2 much CO2

With global warming being an ongoing issue, materials such as steel and concrete just won’t do, combined they produce around 2,000 metric tonnes of CO2 emissions by matching this in carbon storage1. This is where wood comes in as a fantastic alternative to traditional building materials as rather than producing carbon it absorbs the CO2 in the atmosphere.

The Timber Trade Federation part of Timber Development UK claims that every year around 39 billion tonnes of CO2 are released into the atmosphere as a result of everyday human activity. As a result of the vast amount of CO2 being released into the atmosphere, global warming is becoming a never-ending issue that must be dealt with.

How is wood sustainable? Fighting climate change by building with wood

How is wood sustainable? Fighting climate change by building with wood

Trees are incredibly valuable as they help absorb CO2 that is released into the atmosphere, which is currently the only viable method to capture and store carbon. They even go so far as to keep the carbon absorbed even once they are cut down and processed into wood.

Eventually, they are used for anything from the frame of a building to a front door or kitchen unit. Once the wood reaches the end of its natural use, provided it’s recycled into another lifelong product, the carbon remains stored within the structure it has morphed into.

Forests cover around 4 billion hectares, or 30 percent of Earth’s land surface, and currently absorb 2.5 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide per year2. Planting trees in areas that were historically covered, also known as reforestation, is one of the most potent climate mitigation strategies.

Studies have shown that, even when excluding existing trees and agricultural and urban areas, there are 1.7 billion hectares of treeless land on which 1.2 trillion native tree saplings would naturally grow. The absorption and storage of 205 gigatonnes of carbon by this forest cover would help restore ecosystems.

This scale of reforestation would be a vast step in the direction of reducing emissions resulting from human activities—up to two thirds of all emissions!

The timber industry can reduce the rate of deforestation by ensuring that illegal timber does not enter the market through responsible sourcing and helping countries around the world improve their forestry practices.

 Wood is the only truly sustainable and renewable building material

Wood is the only truly sustainable and renewable building material

Not only does timber construction benefit the environment by cutting down carbon emissions, but it is also creating demand for wood from sustainable, well-managed forests, thereby paying for management that reduces the likelihood of forest fires and provides habitat for wildlife.

In order to encourage a future where more renewable, natural materials, including timber, take the place of finite, energy-intensive materials. Wood is a fantastic material to fill this void, and according to innovators and scientists, wood alternatives are the secret to a more renewable world.

Almost one tonne of carbon dioxide is absorbed for every cubic metre of timber used in construction. Timber has the lowest embodied carbon of any construction material, which has led to architects and specifiers pledging to use more sustainable timber, bringing us one step closer to achieving climate change.

An example of this innovation is engineered timber, which has become a phenomenon around the world. This is because it negates the reasoning behind why you maybe wouldn’t use wood as a building alternative, such as not being as strong or as durable.

 Accoya is the future of wood innovation

Accoya is the future of wood innovation

Accoya is a brilliant example of high performance sustainable manufactured wood that has been widely used across the world as a result of its performance, durability, finish, and, of course, outstanding sustainability credentials. Accoya’s sourcing all starts from FSC® certified forests, that must prove they are managed in an environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable manner. These forests are a natural, renewable solution for global environmental problems such as climate change, ecosystem destruction, and landscape deterioration caused by increasing consumption. Besides forming a natural ecological habitat, forests are actually an important carbon sink by filtering CO2 out of the air and absorbing this in the biomass of the tree.

When it comes to real-life applications for Accoya, this is where the brand product really stands apart from the competition. Due to its improved properties, such as increased durability, improved thermal insulation, and a longer coating life as a result of increased dimensional stability, Accoya wood provides several environmental gains during its use phase. The planned service life of Accoya has been independently assessed to be between 77 and 90 years, which marks it out as superior to not only other timbers but also PVC and aluminium when used in applications such as windows. Proof that sustainability and performance can work together.

Accoya® fender shows outstanding resilience in River Thames, London

Environment Agency specifies additional Accoya fenders after trial shows outstanding durability and sustainability. Nine fenders installed along the Thames beside the famous Cutty Sark

Following a successful trial the Environment Agency’s TEAM 2100 has chosen to commission and install a further nine Accoya fenders along the banks of the Thames.

TEAM2100 is the Environment Agency’s 10-year programme to refurbish and replace tidal flood defences in London and the Thames Estuary.

In 2020, the Environment Agency agreed to trial and test an Accoya fender at Duke Shore Wharf, with wood being donated by Accsys via International Timber. The Agency was looking for a resilient, stable and durable alternative to hardwood that could offer improved sustainability credentials whilst continuing to promote a healthy and diverse marine habitat.  The fenders are an essential part of flood risk management assets in the Thames Estuary.

After two years of positive performance at Duke Shore Wharf the Environment Agency has commissioned nine further fenders at Deptford Walls, Greenwich. These fenders were installed in September 2022. To provide biodiversity benefits, the innovative design for the nine new fenders, created by Glasgow University and Kings College London, included habitable spaces for marine life (see diagram).

“Choosing materials that are sustainable and that consider the effects of their production on the environment is a key goal of our flood risk management programme.  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. Finding a viable, sustainable substitute for hardwood has been an important goal of ours,”  said Dr Jo Guy, of the Environment Agency’s TEAM2100, Environment and Sustainability Manager.

 

John Alexander, Group Director of Sales, Accsys commented: “The Thames water is a tough environment with brackish salt water with active marine organisms which rapidly degrade all but the most durable wood types. It’s a real endurance test for a wood product and the performance is in line with our expectations after running sea trials of up to 13 years from the Pacific Ocean to the North Sea.”

The fenders are 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 Circular Economy, Net Zero, Environmental Net Gain, and Social Value sustainability ambitions.

Regenerative design consultancy, 540 WORLD worked with Accsys, Jacobs, Balfour Beatty 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 CO2 absorbed by certified sustainable forests, which keeps that carbon safely stored for decades. This installation in the Thames Estuary will provide further data on long-term performance, adding to the consensus of positive data that Accsys has collected from sites in the Mediterranean and North Seas.

Predictions for Sustainable Building in 2022

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

10.01.2022

Sustainable Building Materials

Sustainable Building Materials

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

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

Lifelong Wellbeing

Lifelong Wellbeing

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

Biophilic Design

Biophilic Design

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

Net Zero Is Not Enough – Positive Is The New Neutral

Net Zero Is Not Enough – Positive Is The New Neutral

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

How Does Accoya Align With These Predictions?

How Does Accoya Align With These Predictions?

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

The world is your oyster

25.10.2021

Oyster farming in the Southern Hemisphere

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

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

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

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

The challenge

The challenge

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

Accoya wood

Accoya wood

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

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

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

Unparalleled performance and sustainability credentials – where it counts

Unparalleled performance and sustainability credentials – where it counts

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

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

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Why wood is the most sustainable building material

06.10.2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

Aerial view from above at the Cambridge botanic gardens. The rising path is made from accoya wood and goes around in a full circle.
Accoya Radiata Pine Forest in New Zealand

Timber transport emissions calculator now on Accoya.com

21.09.2021

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

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

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

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

To use the calculator, click here.

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

02.08.2021

Sustainable Sports Stadiums

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

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

What are the benefits on building a sustainable stadium?

What are the benefits on building a sustainable stadium?

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

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

Sustainability in sports stadiums

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

Amsterdam ArenA, Netherlands

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

Mercedes-Benz Stadium, USA

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

Levi’s Stadium, USA

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

Golden 1 Center, USA

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

Building a sustainable stadium

Building a sustainable stadium

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Velodrome

Velodrome

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

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

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

Outdoor Velodrome

Outdoor Velodrome

 

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

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

References

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

Venlo city hall, Netherlands. Accoya wood decking. Upper floor.

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

02.07.2021

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

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

Sustainability and purpose, integral to responsible business

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

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

ESG framework for Accoya

Your choice of products contributes to a more sustainable world

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

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

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

What does Building Back Better mean for health and wellbeing?

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

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

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

What about the transition to net zero economy?

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

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

Accountability, reporting and communications is vital

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

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

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Accoya wood at Botanical Gardens, Cambridge

Can your environment affect your mental health?

The impact of our surroundings on our mental health.

14.05.2021

Mental health and sustainable building design…

Mental health and sustainable building design…

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

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

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

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

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

1. Less Stress

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Better mood

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

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

 

3. Stay focussed – natural environment and mental health

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

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

4. Creativity boost

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

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

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

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

Mental health and Accoya 

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

 


References

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

Opinion Piece by Justin Peckham “Game Changers”

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

21.04.2021

Video Conferencing Platforms

Video Conferencing Platforms

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

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

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

Acetylated Wood

Acetylated Wood

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

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

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

LED Lighting

LED Lighting

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

 

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

Marking 14 years of the Accoya journey

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

11.03.2021

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

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

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

Unrivalled performance

Unrivalled performance

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

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

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

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

A Sustainable Focus

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

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

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

What’s next for Accoya

What’s next for Accoya

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

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

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

Where to Buy

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

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Accoya Radiata Pine Forest in New Zealand

“Greenwashing” – Opinion Piece by Justin Peckham

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

19.02.2021

Consumer Deception

Consumer Deception

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

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

Greenwashing can appear in a multitude of ways.

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

Justin Peckham, Accsys Head of Sales for UK and Ireland

Justin Peckham, Accsys Head of Sales for UK and Ireland

Types of Greenwashing

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

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

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

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

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

A recent scandal

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

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

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

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

What about construction?

What about construction?

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

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

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

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

Sustainability at Accsys

Sustainability at Accsys

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

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

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

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

Where to Buy

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

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Accoya wood cladding apartments in Wood city, Helsinki, Finland

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.

05.01.2021

Cross-laminated timber

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.

In CanadaNorwaySweden, UK and Australia, even taller wooden buildings are already in use.

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

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

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.

Read more about the Christies Care Home project.

Wood City - Finland

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.

 

Read more about the ‘Wood City’ project.

Wilkinson Eyre Modular village - UK

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.

 

Read more about Wilkinson Eyre Modular village project. 

Sustainable building

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.

Where to Buy

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

Find a supplier

Sustainable Accoya® wood replaces hardwood to enhance ecological habitat in Thames Estuary Environment Agency collaboration

05.01.2021

Accoya wood Fenders

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 said

“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.

Why Accoya?

Why Accoya?

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.

Applications

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!

07.12.2020

Building in Belgium is becoming increasingly sustainable

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 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

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

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

 

Continue reading here

Factory in Avelgem, West Flanders

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

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

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

 

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Anyone thinking of the future must consider wood for construction.

Belgium: Beer, Chocolate and Accoya!

The growing presence of Accoya in Arnhem, the Netherlands

29.10.2020

Arnhem, in the Netherlands, is a city of makers and builders

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

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”

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

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.

 

Meinerswijk Benches

Meinerswijk Benches

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”

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

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

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

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! ” 

Innovative folding outdoor Accoya bench for cafe Moortgat, Arnhem

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

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

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

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

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.

Make a difference, make it local, sustainability is closer than you think!

Accsys is proud that its products contribute to a more sustainable built environment all over the world, offering a high specification, durable product that enhances the best qualities of natural wood.  For our colleagues, it is always a pleasure to see the product we make making a positive impact in our local community.

Where to Buy

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

Find a supplier

Future trends by Accoya

How to make a statement using this versatile material

27.10.2020

Hot home exterior trends

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

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

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

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.

Where to Buy

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

Find a supplier

From stone to stable, sustainable wood: Accoya timber clads Herzog & De Meuron Stadtcasino Basel extension in historic style

16.09.2020

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

Copyright photos:
Main photo: © Stadtcasino Basel |  © Roman Weyeneth
Other photos: © PIRMIN JUNG Switzerland AG

 

 

Where to Buy

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

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Een duurzame buitenkeuken voor het perfecte vakantiegevoel thuis

The sustainable outdoor kitchen

21.08.2020

A sustainable outdoor kitchen for the perfect holiday feeling at home

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

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. 

 

Materials

Materials

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

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! 

Where to Buy

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

Find a supplier

Investing in biodiversity in a modern, sustainable way

19.08.2020

Bees are the foundation of biodiversity

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

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

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.”

Beekeepers Association

Beekeepers Association

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

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.

Where to Buy

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

Find a supplier
Against The Grain Windows and Doors Pty Ltd hero image

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.

30.04.2020

We are regularly asked “what is Accoya?”

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.

Right, ok.

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.

What is so special about Accoya?

Durability
Finish

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.

Wooden windows constructed with long-life Accoya

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:

Façade cladding

Windows, doors and shutters

Decking boards and walkways

Garden furniture and play equipment

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.

Against The Grain Windows and Doors Pty Ltd hero image

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.

06.12.2019

Accoya is a Sustainable Champion

Accoya is a Sustainable Champion

Accsys is delighted to have been chosen as winner of the Building Technology of the Year category in the BusinessGreen Technology Awards 2019, for its sustainable, durable and stable Accoya® wood product.

 

Accsys combines chemistry, technology and ingenuity to make high-performance wood products that enable new, sustainable choices for developing the built environment. Using fast-growing, sustainably-sourced timber, Accsys creates long-life wood products with properties that can compete with traditional non-sustainable building materials, such as tropical hardwoods, metal, plastic and concrete.

 

Accoya® is created through a proprietary acetylation process that boosts the already naturally-occurring acetyl content of wood, and by doing so, reduces the ability of the wood to absorb water. This makes it much more dimensionally stable, and extremely durable, with a 50 year above ground and 25 year in-ground or freshwater warranty.

 

Accoya® is Cradle to Cradle Certified™ at the Gold level, recognising its status as one of the most bio-cycle friendly building materials available: it contains no toxic chemicals, is sourced from renewable, sustainable forests, has a low carbon footprint, and can be recycled like normal wood.

 

The BusinessGreen Technology Awards are now in their 5th year and recognise some of the most exciting green technology businesses and innovations in the UK.

 

The Building Technology of the Year category is for the most exciting recent developments in green construction and property, with judges looking for innovative and inspiring green building technologies that are working to cut environmental impacts and improve building performance.

Against The Grain Windows and Doors Pty Ltd hero image

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.

26.07.2019

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.

Against The Grain Windows and Doors Pty Ltd hero image

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.

07.05.2019

We are regularly asked “what is Accoya?”

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.

Right, ok.

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.

We should be choosing the right materials for people as well as for aesthetic.

We should be choosing the right materials for people as well as for aesthetic.

As per a Japanese study, plastic, metal and glass is impersonal in the workplace and has shown to increase blood pressure and stress levels. Whereas environments rich in natural materials, especially wood, can decrease blood pressure and stress levels.

 

Less stress, lower blood pressure, healthier immune system. These all add up to healthier and happier employees. This leads to better productivity and ultimately benefits the company, and the economy. Everyone’s a winner.

You may have heard of VOC's before.

You may have heard of VOC’s before.

Volatile Organic Compounds. These are chemicals released through the burning of fossil fuels, processing with synthetic materials, and can be present in every day consumer products. These are a socially acceptable poison on human health. Socially acceptable as for many years they were a by-product that may have been misunderstood, or in the balance of cost vs reward deemed worth the health risk. But today, with increasing concern around personal and planetary health, these are poisons that we don’t need to accept. And the easiest way to start reducing them in our day to day is to start without them, rather than starting to remove them.

Why?

Because you already know that anything less is potentially harmful to your health.

So why then do we accept the status quo and not challenge?

Given the opportunity to feel better, have less sick days, potentially help to avoid life threatening conditions. The majority of us should jump at the chance, but we need to transition away from should into will.

If almost your entire day is spent inside. It is our responsibility to ensure that we have a healthy working environment.

And wood is very much an answer.

Switching to wood for construction doesn’t mean that we will suddenly not have to worry about carbon emissions and defeating climate change. But it does offer one strand of possibilities in a much larger environmental piece. Making many smaller changes will build up into widespread change. From the perspective of personal responsibility, is it not your duty to preserve the planet for future generations? We won’t achieve that through continuing with the same high carbon, low re-use practices that we are accustomed to.

Proactive vs. reactive

Did you know that NASA published a list of air filtering plants that remove chemicals like formaldehyde, benzene and ammonia from the air? Naturally improving the air quality around you.

This is great. It’s great that a research organisation has put in the time and funding to compile a list of natural reactive treatments for an unhealthy environment.

But wait a second…

Why are these chemicals in your home in the first place?

Draw a timeline of your life. Hopefully not… But at some point you may become ill as a result of the environment you work and live in. Now would you rather treat that illness with medication? Or would you rather prevent that illness from ever having the opportunity to affect you.

This is essentially the question we must ask ourselves in modern environments.

Don’t look for a cure, look for prevention.

The BRE Biophilic Office is a great example of this.

Taking a human-centred approach to the spaces we sit in. Following research into using nature to inform the building choices and decisions best suited for a healthy environment. Leading to quantifiable improvements in productivity, wellness and a reduction in days absent due to illness.

We have proof. We have examples and we have common sense.

Now we must act, for the sake of our future health.

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