Earth Day – Accoya the eco-friendly way of working with wood - Westbury Windows and Joinery

Earth Day – Accoya the eco-friendly way of working with wood

Earth Day is on 22 April, an initiative dedicated to promoting sustainability and the environment. This year's theme is 'Planet vs. Plastic' This blog explores why choosing timber windows and doors over plastic is the sustainable choice.

As we approach Earth Day on April 22nd, the theme of “Planet vs. Plastic” resonates more strongly than ever. It’s a reminder of the choices we make and their impact on the environment. In the context of windows and joinery manufacturing, opting for timber over plastics such as PVC is the sustainable choice. While PVC (polyvinyl chloride) has long been used in window and door manufacturing due to its affordability and low maintenance, its environmental drawbacks cannot be overlooked. PVC production involves the release of toxic chemicals and greenhouse gases, contributing to air and water pollution. Additionally, PVC is not biodegradable and poses significant challenges for recycling.

Plastic degrades, whereas Wood Window Alliance-standard windows have an estimated service life of around 60 years, that’s twice the life of PVC-U windows. Plastic windows can become discoloured and brittle as a result of exposure to the sun and unlike wood framed windows, they can’t be repaired.

In contrast, timber, particularly sustainable options like Accoya, a revolutionary wood created from only fast-growing, abundantly available, FSC® or PEFC™ certified tree species such as Radiata pine, offers an eco-friendly alternative.

Westbury – a pioneer in sustainable, carbon-negative wood sourcing

Sustainability in wood sourcing is an issue that is also of key importance here at Westbury. Without wood, we wouldn’t have a product and we recognise that we have a responsibility to ensure that our production methods are in balance with the world in which we are living. It is for this reason, that we use Accoya®.

What is Accoya®?

Accoya® is a revolutionary wood created from only fast-growing and abundantly available FSC® or PEFC™ certified tree species such as the Radiata pine.

The pine used at Accsys Technologies to make Accoya® goes through a (non-toxic, environmentally friendly) chemical process, called acetylation, which makes it a super-strength version of its original form – more durable and more stable. The acetylation process even improves its paint retention and in-ground conditions. Rated as a Class 1 timber, Accoya® is just about as durable as wood can be.

Waste reduction starts with quality

Reducing the use of materials is at the heart of environmentalism, and so, using a product that is guaranteed to last 50 years above ground and 25 years in soil, and that is indigestible to insects and virtually rot-proof, is a strong starting point in eliminating the unnecessary waste associated with fast-fashion shopping and disposable consumerism.

At Westbury, we build classic products that are built to last so you won’t need to keep replacing them. Unlike uPVC plastic windows that are not built to last and cannot be maintained, and which are fuelling the issue of plastic waste in our environment, windows and doors made from Accoya® will give you a lifetime of beauty, durability, stability and security and they stack up in terms of their environmental credentials.

Indeed a ‘Westbury’ is like a Landrover – well respected in design and very good for the environment. With our use of Accoya®, our paint system and our glazing system combined a Westbury is a product that will go on and on.

Outscoring the competition

Accoya® scores significantly better than metals (aluminium), plastics (PVC), and unsustainably sourced hardwood and is on par with sustainably sourced (certified) hardwood when measured in terms of greenhouse gas emissions and carbon footprint.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions (kg C02 per m3 of material)

accoya stats
Source: Accsys Technologies/Westbury

Greenhouse Gas Emissions (cradle to grave) (per window frame per material in kg C02)

accoya stats - greenhouse gas
Source: Accsys Technologies/Westbury

Understanding is power

Accoya® needs to be fully understood by those working with it, and at Westbury, we are ahead of the game on this. In fact, we’d consider ourselves experts. Knowing how we can strengthen it even further or what materials can be detrimental to its longevity means that we are able to provide sustainable buildings and joinery that will last a lifetime. And should you want to change them before then, Accoya® is completely recyclable with no adverse effects on the environment? It even has better thermal insulation than regular hardwood, meaning less energy is required to heat your home.

With no swelling or warping, customers using Accoya® will find that their doors and windows will continue to open perfectly for many years, with no swelling or catching, even if you live by the coast or at a higher altitude (where they’re more vulnerable to the elements). Accoya® will even reduce the amount of paint required – another environmental saving with less need for preparation and sanding when you do have to re-paint (which is about once every ten years).

Invest in our ethics

Of course, the quickest way to heal the planet would be for consumers to stop consuming stuff, but for most of us – that simply isn’t a reality. Instead, we need to gain a better understanding of the materials we do use and how they impact upon the planet, and ensure that we are prepared to invest in our ethics and indeed our future.

Accoya Windows and Doors – The Gold Standard

Accoya®, the engineered timber that we use to craft our windows and doors at Westbury Joinery has been re-awarded Gold status in the Cradle to Cradle (C2C) certification in recognition of its sustainable credentials across its lifespan, for the 9th year running.

The recertification of C2C Gold has been granted, following a rigorous assessment process, due to Accyss Technologies’ sustainable wood sourcing methods, using more than 50% renewable energy, while producing a fully non-toxic product.

The Cradle to Cradle certification is a special industry standard with a criteria of requirements for continually improving the composite of products and how they are manufactured. It serves to provide consumers, regulators, and those in the industry with a concise validation of a manufacturer’s ongoing commitment to sustainability and to the wider community.

The benefits of Accoya® windows and doors

In addition to its high profile Cradle to Cradle accreditations, the unique acetylation process that Accoya® goes though to achieve remarkable levels of stability and durability is backed by 90 years of research to prove its reliability. Accoya® exceeds the quality and aesthetic attributes of tropical hardwoods in most cases.

Boasting such superb environmental credentials, Accoya® is able to withstand extreme environmental factors, making it the perfect material for the main components of our windows and external doors.

Windows and doors made from engineered Accoya® not only have greater strength, stability, and durability but they are also far more environmentally friendly than products made from solid timber or other materials because the manufacturing process produces minimal wastage and the end product is completely recyclable.