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Eco-credentials & Sustainability Ratings are Key to Success

ecocredentialsOver the last 20 years, the dynamics of the construction industry have been revolutionised and the importance placed on the environment has seen an unprecedented upward turn.

Stuart Burns, Director of Dura Composites, looks at how investing heavily in the environmentally-friendly sourcing and the sustainability of materials at the outset has minimised the impact of the downturn over the past few years.

It is expensive and time-consuming to manufacture cladding and decking that is eco-friendly; In fact, the NPD process which resulted in the creation of Dura Cladding, our timber composite alternative to natural wood cladding, was elongated substantially by the need to create a sustainable and ‘green’ product.

However, where manufacturers of cladding which can’t boast these credentials have suffered in the recession, those that spent the time and money have flourished.

There are cynics that said that a timber composite could not be as green as natural wood but this simply isn’t true.

An independent report from CERAM UK confirmed that our products meet the highest sustainability specifications. Not only is Dura Cladding made of 87% recycled materials, we achieved a world first earlier this year when we became the first timber composite supplier to become FSC ® 100% certified, guaranteeing the use of FSC ® certified forests in our production chain when specified.

And that’s not all when it comes to the environmental credentials of timber composite – products like ours are not only made from recycled materials, they can also be recycled themselves – although in practice their long life expectancy means this should rarely be necessary.

In terms of sustainability and cost-efficiency, a good quality timber composite cladding rates highly. Where hardwood cladding needs replacing after 15 years and softwood cladding every 10 years, a good quality timber composite should last over 25 years, even without painting or staining and just a basic clean every once in a while.

The eco-credentials of Dura Cladding were a selling point for Ian Hodges, managing director of Horncastle Group PLC, the developer of an eco-office in Yorkshire;

“The overarching concept behind the development was to ensure it was as architecturally attractive, environmentally friendly and sustainable as possible, and selecting Dura Cladding for the exterior walls has played a significant role in helping us achieve that. The resulting buildings look great, are extremely energy efficient and all have Energy Performance Certificate ratings of A and we also have a wind turbine on site that feeds electricity into the national grid to offset usage on the park.

Dura Cladding offered all of the key properties we were looking for in terms of its appearance, low-maintenance, environmental sustainability and long term durability, and was a great choice from our point of view. In fact, we’re so delighted with the results that that Horncastle Group recently relocated to Green Park Business Park as a demonstration of our commitment to the project and to help establish a business community in this prime location. We look forward to welcoming other forward thinking businesses to Green Park in the coming months”.

It’s easy to identify quality timber composite products on the market because the best manufacturers offer warranties of up to 25 years. If in doubt, ask for a list of results from their rigorous testing procedures.

It is likely that the popularity of eco-friendly cladding will grow even more over the next few years, with the roll-out of the governments’ ‘Green Deal’. A cladding range which has such a high recycled content and uses wood which is procured through sustainable forestry is the perfect finishing touch to an eco-friendly, low emission house or office.

As the UK benefits from the costs savings associated with insulating walls, timber composite cladding provides a cost-effective and easy-to-install solution for transforming the outside of any building.

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