A sustainable wood product has for the first time been incorporated into a new home in an area prone to flooding because of its exceptional durability and eco friendly features.
is a low carbon
wood material developed by UK company Accsys Technology PLC
through a process called 'acetylation
’, which waterproofs, strengthens and extends the life of softwood by up to 50 years. Intended to be used for doors, windows and cladding, it has so far been utilised in commercial developments, as well as infrastructure projects, such as a bridges. But in its first foray into the market of private residences, LSI Architects
chose the material for a Norfolk home built to be flood and moisture resistant, as well as green.
"It was used all over the exterior of the build, to clad the whole building, including the skirting, walls and the boathouse. Everything on the exterior is made out of Accoya," said an Accoya spokesperson, who confirmed the product was picked because of its moisture resistant properties.Water-resistant
According to Accsys, the material is 80 per cent more resistant to warping and moisture than other types of woods.
"If you used a normal soft wood, it would warp or twist. If you used a hard tropical wood, it would be very expensive and not very sustainable," said the spokesperson.How the technology works
Acetylation works in a similar way to soaking conkers in vinegar and oven-baking them to make them go extra hard. The patented process changes softwoods at a molecular level making them stronger and more durable than hardwoods.
The chemically treated softwood, which has been recognised as a 'Gold’ standard product under the eco certification scheme Cradle to Cradle, boasts a lower carbon footprint than traditionally used materials such as PVC and aluminum and is 100 per cent recyclable. It is even resistant to insects, according to Accsys. Flooding
Although not yet widely used in the building of UK homes and commercial properties, its moisture resistant and low carbon properties could make Accoya an attractive material in the building of flood-prone properties in Britain, where the frequency and severity of floods is on the up.
Though the final price of the Norfolk home could not be released, the spokesperson said Accoya was affordable to purchase and to maintain due to its durability.Green home
In addition to its use of Accoya, the Norfolk property incorporates a number of other eco features, such as a ground source heat pump that produces 9.7 kilowatts of energy, 13 photovoltaic cells that produce 1.8 kilowatts of energy, triple glazed windows, galvanized steel, and a sedum roof that helps prevent flood damage, insulates the home and increases biodiversity
in the area.
In order to enhance the flood resistant aspects of the home, it was constructed to be raised 1.9 meters above the ground at its highest point.
According to Accsys, the four-bedroom home is 60 per cent more efficient than 2006 building regulation
compliant homes. The residence received a score of four on the Code for Sustainable Homes scale of one to six.
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