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19.01.2009 16:14 Age: 6 yrs
Category: materials

Reclaimed materials

Oak floors are beautiful. This English Oak floor is made from reclaimed boards, which are about 100 years old. The grain of the wood is exquisite and it is difficult to find contemporary woods of such quality. The floor will stay part of the urban fabric.    

Cities cover less than 1% of the world's surface, but are responsible for 80% of the world?s CO2 output. 99% of the building stock is old, only 1% is new. Most of us now live in an urban or sub-urban environment.

UK construction sites generate 100 million tonnes of waste each year - a third of all UK waste - most of which goes to landfill. Of that waste, up to 30% has never been used. The true cost of that waste is up to 15 times the apparent cost of the waste material.

How can this cost be avoided? One solution is the use of reclaimed materials.

Instead of disposing of materials in landfill, many can be dismantled, cleaned and reused. It is relatively easy to reuse classic building materials such as bricks, natural stone materials such as York Stone, and wood.

Oak floors and oak parquets have a long tradition and have been used in residential as well as public buildings such as schools over the centuries.

Oak is a slow growing, long lasting and therefore often an expensive wood. An Oak tree can be centuries old before it is cut and used. However, maintaining and creating sustainable woodlands, resilient to climate change, deliver real benefits for people, business and wildlife.

Rather than cutting down trees, oak and other wood floors can be salvaged when buildings are demolished, cleaned and re-used. If this is done locally, energy costs for production and transportation and therefore CO2 emissions can be cut out.

The floor in our example was salvaged from a building in London, cleaned, laid down again, sanded and oiled with a natural oil. Its grain is exquisite and it has a wonderful patina. And it will easily last another 100 years.

An excellent provider for reclaimed materials in London is Lassco  - www.lassco.co.uk.

If you want to learn more about the protection and expansion of Britain's forests and woodlands, visit the website of the Forestry Commission - www.forestry.gov.uk.

New products made out of wood carrying the FSC label are independently certified to assure consumers that they come from forests that are managed to meet the social, economic and ecological needs of present and future generations - www.fsc.org.