September 29, 2011
Is timber the environmentally friendly choice for the manufacture of windows and doors?
Everything we do has an impact on the environment. The activities we undertake and the products we use and consume all contribute to this.
By choosing timber as the base material for your windows and doors, you have already made a very positive decision in minimising the impact your property has on the environment due to the natural insulation of timber and its carbon storage capacity. By choosing timber from sustainable, certified sources, you also remove the risk of the negative aspects seen in the timber industry over recent decades.
At George Barnsdale we have all the benefits of using sustainably sourced engineered timber, but we have taken a holistic approach to sustainable window design and as a result provide a product that goes the extra step.
Forests play a vital role in managing the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. While the destruction of tropical rainforests upsets that delicate balance, the use of timber from sustainable sources helps restore it.
Trees absorb CO² from the atmosphere most efficiently while they are growing at a rate of 1 tonne per cubic metre of growth. For the same amount of growth, 0.7 tonnes of oxygen are released.
(Source: Edinburgh Centre for Carbon Management)
After they reach maturity, typically 80 to 100 years for a softwood tree, their CO² uptake slows and the trees become less efficient in carbon uptake. The debris on the forest floor also decays, releasing methane (one of the most powerful greenhouse gases) into the atmosphere. In a managed forest, mature trees are therefore harvested to make way for vigorous new trees. When trees are harvested, most of the stored carbon is transferred to wood products such as windows and doors. Planting new trees absorbs more CO² due to more vigorous growth of the new tree.
(Source: UK Forestry Commission / Wood for Good)
At George Barnsdale all of our timber is sourced through the FSC timber certification scheme. These schemes ensure that the sources of the timber are well managed and sustainable. We are fully certified with both schemes, allowing us to provide certification if required.
Saving Energy through Good Design
Timber is a natural insulator and when coupled with high performance glass offers excellent insulation against heat loss from your home.
At George Barnsdale we have been optimising our designs over recent decades to maximise this natural potential and starting with the UK’s first A rated timber window, we now have the widest range of energy rated timber products in the country.
As well as excellent thermal performance, we have designed all of our products to last with little maintenance. The small amount of material and energy input required in the maintenance process and the fact that the windows can, with correct care, last for generations mean that the production inputs are recovered many times over.
Reducing Waste in Manufacture
Whilst lower than many other materials, the energy inputs into the manufacturing process are still significant and as such we have made factory efficiency a fundamental goal of our business. We recycle our waste products and closely monitor our energy consumption to reduce waste.
Currently on part of our site we use waste products to heat water providing hot air for our paint drying process and around the factory and this will soon be extended across the whole facility.