March 17, 2020

Prior to Covid 19 all anyone was talking about was zero carbon 2030. Architects have been doing more than most to address the need for more sustainable construction. From the LETI Climate Emergency Design Guide to Riba’s Sustainable Outcomes Guide published in December, a great deal of research, planning and soul searching has been done by a lot of dedicated people.

What about outside the architects’ eco bubble? Are manufacturers really embracing sustainability in a circular economic way or are they simply just going round in circles? George Barnsdale has undertaken a number of initiatives over the years to be more sustainable but recognise there’s an awful lot more to do, including accessing home grown timber.

Despite being a 100% timber windows and doors manufacturer based in the UK with all manner of sustainable initiatives operating throughout our factory and offices, we recognise there is still more to do. One of the biggest issues, in considering the circular economy and the need to reduce carbon emmissions from transporting raw materials, is the ability to source more locally. This has been made extremely difficult with the decline of our forests. According to the Woodland Trust, just 13% of our land in the UK is forest, the EU average is 37%. Dedicated to putting this right, the Woodland Trust are committed to planting millions of trees as well as protecting and restoring existing ancient woodland.

As a Woodland Trust Corporate member, we are determined to make it about more than good PR, we are actively seeking ways to access timber that is home grown which will also deliver the performance required for our products. Stephen Wright, Chairman of George Barnsdale has been in talks with timber suppliers for a long time and he has also gone to companies like Vastern Timber who have been developing their Brimstone range of thermally modified hardwoods grown in the UK (ash, poplar and sycamore). As with all our products, we are testing the performance of these timbers in some of our windows. Watch this space!