36 RCI 0714

RCI JULY 2014

CLADDING & SHEETING 036 JULY 2014 RCIMAG.COM Timber trending Christian Jebsen, CEO of Kebony, explores how innovations in treated-timber methodology have championed new possibilities for wood as a sustainable material for cladding Sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) are becoming increasingly important for builders, developers and architects, as they come under mounting pressure to operate wood traceability schemes, such as EU Timber Legislation, and use only the most environmentally-sound techniques. Consequently, sustainable alternatives to tropical hardwoods like Kebony are very popular and represent a substantial and growing sector of the market. Furthermore, modified wood also provides a viable alternative to toxic-treated and copperimpregnated wood, which in my opinion are generally environmentally-damaging and expensive, due to necessary preservation and treatment costs and measures. Kebony is therefore a sustainable alterative to both tropical hardwood and toxic-treated wood. Through our process, softwoods are permanently strengthened to make them more durable, dimensionally stable and resistant to weathering and decay. Kebony’s resilience, its aesthetic value and the attractive silver-gray patina which the wood acquires over its elongated lifespan, have contributed to a paradigm shift that has come to redefine the relationship between the construction industry and timber. Replicating Norway Wood cladding has become an increasingly popular choice of external finish over recent years. Indeed Kebony has noticed that the UK market is increasingly replicating the Norwegian vogue for using wood as a building material. Wood is a widely-used traditional raw material in Norway, particularly when it comes to cladding. It has been estimated that two thirds of all Norwegian housing has an element of wooden cladding – testament to its aesthetic attributes as well as its ability to withstand a harsh climate. This, together with a great tradition of skilled craftsmanship passed from one generation to the next, means that much of Norway’s heritage is reflected in a more organic approach to construction – hence the use of wood cladding and the growth of companies such as Kebony. Exposed coalhouse project At Kebony we are lucky enough to have had our wood selected for the cladding of some remarkable projects which have really highlighted the assets of using wood in place of other materials. Our collaboration with architects to create a vibrant and modern restaurant on the coast of South West Wales was testament to Kebony’s durability in extreme weather conditions. The formerly dilapidated 19th century coalhouse was a relic of the industrial heritage of this part of the country; timeworn and neglected. In May 2013, the building, previously described in a report by chartered architects Davies Sutton as an ‘eyesore’, was transformed and given a new lease of life. It was converted into a picturesque restaurant, with sustainable architecture providing a breath of fresh air into its tired façade. A creation from the highly acclaimed designer Susie Atkinson, the restaurant offers panoramic views of the Three Cliffs Bay and a large sea facing terrace, combining contemporary architectural design and the use of sustainable materials suitable for its seaside position. In the case of the Coalhouse restaurant, the decision to utilise Kebony for the cladding of the building was not merely born out of environmental conscientiousness but was also one of important architectural foresight. The restaurant’s location on the exposed south-west coast meant that the chosen material had to be highly durable and weatherproof. Kebony has equal and often superior qualities to that of tropical hardwoods in this respect and does not deteriorate in extreme weather conditions. The environmentally-friendly, patented process makes a permanent change in the wood, unlike traditional impregnation which is frequently short-lived as the impregnated substance, often copper, leaks out over time. Moreover, the architects for this project chose the materials with a view to the future of the building; preempting the silver-grey patina it would develop perfectly complementing the seaside setting of the restaurant. It will also circumvent the need for expensive and environmentally damaging wood treatments like varnishing or painting. Goboat terminal More recently, Kebony cladding was featured in an imaginative Danish project, which served to highlight the versatility of the material. The initiative was launched by Goboat, Copenhagen’s newest start-up, and involved a fleet of solarpowered, Kebony-clad picnic boats. Founded by entrepreneurs Carl Kai Rand and Kasper Højer Romme, the Goboat project was designed with nature and sustainability at its core, creating a Above Top: Kebony’s wood was used at this restaurant in South Wales; above: Kebony’s wood was used for the Goboat terminal in Copenhagen, the floating bridge and the cladding of the boats themselves maritime oasis in the heart of Denmark’s capital city. The eco-friendly principles of the project naturally led to Goboat’s partnership with Kebony. Kebony’s sustainable, aesthetic and high-performance wood was used for the Goboat terminal, the floating bridge and the cladding of the boats themselves. Further environmental innovations employed in these Danish designed boats include the use of recycled plastic on the boats and a solar-powered rental terminal developed by Gaia Solar. Ever higher standards The construction industry has felt the pressure in recent years as governments and consumers demand adherence to ever higher standards of sustainability, driving up the costs of materials and implementation techniques. But technological advances in recent years have dramatically changed the face of sustainable building, and with products like Kebony’s aesthetic and durable cladding, building to save the environment can also help to save on expense. www.kebony.com


RCI JULY 2014
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