ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY AND TIMBER WINDOWS
Timber is the most sustainable of materials from which to manufacture windows and doors
Growing trees take CO2 from our atmosphere!
Timber is a vitally important way to take CO2 from the atmosphere. As a tree grows it absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere via a process called photosynthesis. There is a by-product - oxygen. For every cubic metre of timber grown, one tonne of CO2 is sequestrated from the air. Timber is therefore a 'carbon sink', locking away carbon for the lifetime of the product and potentially for many years more than that.
The processing of lumber into timber batons and then into finished products such as windows and doors also utilises waste wood (sawdust and shavings) as a source of energy providing a low-cost and environmentally friendly alternative to fossil-fuelled energy.
It has been calculated that even after all the processing from the forest to finished product, timber windows and doors are net 'carbon negative'. That is, there is more carbon bound up in the timber than has been put into the atmosphere in the manufacturing process. No other material can come close to this claim.
The environmental story is further enhanced when you consider the durability of timber as a material. Properly maintained timber products will last for decades. Because timber can easily be repaired if it is damaged and can be made to look new again with a new coat of paint, there is less need to replace timber windows. They are versatile too - the addition of a different coloured paint can transform the appearance to suit new furnishings.
What wood does Blackthorn Timber Windows supply?
We can supply our windows and doors in a wide range of timbers including hardwoods such as Sapele, Idigbo, Oak and Grandis and a special processed softwood called Accoya. But the majority of our products are made from FSC certified engineered Redwood (pine), which comes from forests in northern Sweden and the Baltics.
Hardwood is used to define angiosperm trees that reproduce by flowers, and have broad leaves. Many but not all species are deciduous. The term hardwood is a little confusing as not all hardwoods are hard (for example Balsa) and some softwoods are very hard (such as Yew). Nevertheless, most hardwoods are denser and harder than most softwoods.
Softwood is usually timber from gymnosperm trees such as pines and spruces that reproduce with cones and occasionally nuts. Generally faster-growing, softwood makes up about 80& of the timber used in the construction industry. Engineered Redwood is pine which has been processed (usually close to the forest where it was felled). The tree is sawn into long, narrow lengths and the battens are then kiln-dried slowly (using off-cuts of wood as the source of energy) down to 12% moisture. Then all the knots are cut out of the wood and the resultant shorter lengths are bonded back together again in-line to re-make a long ‘plank’ of timber. Then 3 or more of these long lengths are sandwiched together to make a full cross-section of the desired thickness.
Accoya is a softwood that has been chemically altered to give it the durability and stability of the best hardwoods. The timber is grown in the southern hemisphere whilst the processing mainly takes place in Holland. As a result, Accoya can be just as expensive as oak.
The key environmental consideration is that timber, whether hardwood or softwood, should be harvested in a truly sustainable way. Many tropical hardwoods do not fall into this category and should be avoided. International organisations such as the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) exist today to verify and certify that timber is managed and harvested in an approved way, taking into account the wellbeing of forestry workers as well as indigenous people.
Timber is a crop and is being planted and managed in far greater volumes today than at the start of the 20th century. As trees are felled, two or more new saplings are planted to replace them.
The design of a good timber window should consider how to minimise contact between the timber and water. It is impossible to stop windows getting wet but modern designs protect the most vulnerable areas with drainage and ventilation. Combined with 21st century preservatives and water-based micro-porous paints, today's good quality timber windows have never been so well protected. Little wonder then that Blackthorn Timber Windows have a life expectancy in excess of 30 years.
But beware! Not all timber windows are the same. Please refer to "10 reasons to choose Blackthorn Timber Windows" when comparing our products with any others and we're confident you'll find significant differences.