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Meeting sustainability goals through considered material specification

With quality, sustainable housing a necessity, it’s important architects and specifiers carefully consider the materials used in the construction of new homes. Structural flooring is one such example, with carefully chosen products able to contribute to the wider sustainability goals of a development. Here, Scott Wolters, Building Products Sales Director at EGGER UK, will discuss how timber structural flooring can aid in this.

 

With the typical masonry house in the UK taking between 50 to 80 tonnes of CO2 to build, there is a clear need for consideration of the environment, natural resources and local communities when constructing new homes. This has led to many in the industry looking to incorporate building materials, such as timber, into their housing projects.

 

One way timber can be easily implemented into new housing is through structural flooring boards. An essential part of any new house, structural flooring is available in a variety of formats, such as concrete or beam and block. However, when you bring sustainability into the equation it’s clear that timber comes out on top, with both of the aforementioned alternatives having a high level of embodied carbon.


EGGER forestry

An important environmental consideration for the design of any new development, embodied carbon relates to the carbon emissions produced during the extraction, manufacture and refinement of any building materials. With materials such as concrete this figure is quite high, whereas timber can sequester around 825kg of CO2 per cubic metre, providing a considerable environmental saving across the lifetime of a product.

 

As embodied carbon encompasses all emissions associated with a product’s lifecycle, it’s important to look carefully at suppliers to ensure sustainability has been considered at every stage of the supply and manufacturing process. With timber, this can be as simple as looking to see where the wood was originally sourced from, with the irresponsible harvesting of forests having a serious environmental impact through deforestation and the destruction of natural habitats. While sustainably managed forests operate in a way that maintains the health, productivity and biodiversity of the forest, with no impact on other ecosystems, helping to ensure the creation of more sustainable products.

 

Look for timber-based products where the raw material has been obtained from accredited sources, such as forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC®) or the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC), demonstrating that the timber has been grown and managed in a sustainable manner.

 

Another quality of timber is its ability to be recycled and reused, without losing its strength. With this in mind, consider looking at timber structural flooring products that also contain recycled wood content, whether that be post-consumer scrap wood, industrial waste or sawmill by-products. This not only diverts waste away from landfill sites but can also prolong carbon storage, as waste material that isn’t burnt will continue to hold the carbon it has absorbed for the duration of its lifetime.  


EGGER Peel Clean Xtra flooring boards

EGGER UK’s structural flooring products are a great example of this, containing 40% sawmill by-products, 40% recycled wood, and 20% virgin timber. As a result, each structural floorboard can be recycled at the end of its lifetime, closing the loop and creating a more circular economy. Additionally, where possible, EGGER products come in recyclable packaging, further reducing wastage when a delivery arrives onsite.

 

EGGER’s Protect and Peel Clean Xtra floorboards are made in-house at its plant in Hexham, Northumberland, whereas other manufacturers often outsource the upgrading of products to third parties. This helps to further reduce both the financial and environmental costs of both of these building materials.

 

Find out more about EGGER UK, here: www.egger.com

 

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