Environmental Manufacture

To take the best care of the environment we take into account: Materials, Energy Use, Building to Last and Waste.

Materials

  • Wood is carbon, bound from the atmosphere as the tree grows. When the wood is burnt or decays, the carbon is released. By recycling timber we are keeping the carbon stored for longer, avoiding green house gas emissions.

  • We use a polyurethane free glue called Green Solutions GS500 for applications requiring a flexible adhesive.

  • We use a low toxic water based Polyurethane glue called Titebond 3 for laminating our bench tops rather than a formaldehyde based glue.

  • The Osmo finish we use is based on natural plant oils and waxes. The Osmo finishes are very high in solids. According to calculation by the Osmo Holz Und Color in Germany one litre of Polyx Oil Pure contains 2kg of bound CO2 from the atmosphere. Link to press release from Osmo.

  • The epoxy resin we use for filling cracks in our timber is produced using 25% bio-carbon from the waste stream of other industrial processes. The resin is therefore also a form of carbon storage.

Lola our apprentice at work oiling a decorative stump with Osmo Polyx Oil Satin.

Lola our apprentice at work oiling a decorative stump with Osmo Polyx Oil Satin.


Energy Use

  • In these days of global warming we want to minimise fossil fuel energy use.

  • Our workshop runs on electricity. Prior to October 2013 we bought 100% renewable electricity from ACTEWAGL Greenpower. We then moved to a similar renewable electricity offset called Climatechest. With the increasing proportion of electricity supplied from renewable sources in the ACT (the ACT is on track for 100% renewable electricity by 2020) we decided not to continue with Climatechest and instead invest the money into briquette production from our sawdust waste. At our new site in Mildura St, we have installed a 29.7kW system from solar4life.com.au that provides around 25-30% of our electricity needs. See more information on the ACT government"s ACTSmart program and our solar system here.

  • We have converted to electric forklifts. So clean compared to diesel!

  • Fuel use for our vehicles is offset using Greenfleet.

  • We also choose our machinery to minimise electricity usage. For example, our sawdust extraction is controlled with a variable speed unit. When we are operating less machinery, the motor slows down and consumes less power.

  • Another example is our planer sander. The planning head can remove 6 times as much material in one pass as a normal sanding machine. It also requires a less powerful motor than a sanding head. Therefore by operating the planer sander we are saving a lot of electricity compared to our previous sanding machine.

  • LED lighting is used throughout our workshop and office.

Thor having a cuppa with the Solar4Life team next to our 90 new high-efficiency Canadian panels.

Thor having a cuppa with the Solar4Life team next to our 90 new high-efficiency Canadian panels.


Building to Last

  • Our furniture is built to be handed down through the generations. This keeps the carbon in the timber bound up for longer, and avoids the energy use of continually making replacements.

  • Using the right finish is an important part of building to last. Osmo natural wood finishes can be easily renovated at any time without the need for sanding. Conventional lacquers require sanding back to bare wood to re-coat, which reduces the thickness of the timber with each maintenance. This is especially a problem with timber floors, which may only have 5-6mm of timber above the tongue and groove, and will need to be replaced once this has been sanded down.

The Dovetail table -  see the the project blog here.

The Dovetail table - see the the project blog here.


Waste

  • We sell our timber offcuts for use as firewood, or burn them in our workshop to warm us in winter.

  • Our sawdust is collected throughout the workshop in our extraction system, then compressed into high efficiency, clean burning fire briquettes. Briquettes are a cost efficient, environmentally friendly and convenient alternative to regular firewood. More information here.

Our sawdust fire briquettes.  Order here.

Our sawdust fire briquettes. Order here.