ecobuilding

The Advantages of utilizing Reclaim Wood as Furniture

Based on its studies, the United Nation Environment Program, there are presently twelve species of trees that are on the watch and regarded as an endangered. A lot of these have been famous choices to make cabinets, furniture, musical instruments, and several other items utilized by people. On a yearly basis, with an approximation of forty (40) million hectares of the earth’s forests are swiped for this purpose. As our limited resources immediately comes to a close, consumers and companies alike are searching for methods and techniques to consolidate environmental responsibility in to their way of living.

Ulin log transformed in stool and finished with a butterfly joint.

Ulin log transformed in stool and finished with a butterfly joint.

Energy conservation, paper-less theory, and recycling have been there long before.  Another efficient way to become environment-friendly is by furnishing your home with reclaimed wood furniture.

Instead of being thrashed, old woods from dismantled buildings and homes is refurbished, harvested, rejuvenated and given a renaissance as dresser or coffee table. The use of reclaim wood can supply a positive environmental impact beyond the preservation of virgin trees. A lot of builders also utilize non-toxic paints and glue as well as natural oil finishes.

The main objective is to come up with a high quality, beautiful product while giving the environment a breather and develop as soon as possible. Reclaimed wood yields stylish yet rustic type of furniture. In several cases, it is difficult to regard the piece is not brand new. In some cases as well, evidence such as rustic nail holes or saw marks are retained for a purpose, supplying an antique feel, well-worn appeal. It can be tailored to suit a vast array of homeowners’ tastes and feels and can be blended with traditional, rustic, or contemporary tastes.

There is also a sense of mystery surrounding a piece of reclaimed wood product. Your night shelf could emanate from a turn of the century raw house or a barn. Or maybe it was salvaged from a neighbor’s unused deck. Whatever the case is, it has a story to tell and history of its own.

At the end of the day, the cost efficient factor of this type of furniture is a lot more enticing to buyers. Even though hand-made furniture can be expensive, reclaimed materials are basically cheaper as compared to brand new items. Reclaimed wood is basically treated and pre-cut, lessening expenses significantly.

Any property owned with a taste for nostalgic feels, an eye for a stylish theme, and a goal to protect and preserve our natural resources would be wise to mull over buying reclaimed wood furniture. Whatever your goal is, reclaimed wood is the “in” thing as of the moment. Let’s just say that yesterday’s pieces are the most loved pieces of today and still embraced until tomorrow.

As for us, at Kaltimber, we are not fully dedicated to furniture but to decking and flooring in reclaim wood. All the character and history carried in each and every single piece makes all our projects unique. Our leftover are used to create unique piece of furniture on occasion.

Forest to protect cities from earthquake

The deflected waves to protect a building can destroy the neighbor and, among the famous surface seismic waves known by seismologists  as Rayleigh waves, some have wave lengths large enough not to be affected by the already envisaged seismic invisibility systems. Fortunately, these problems seem to be able to be overcome using ... trees!

Experiments carried out in France with a small pine forest not far from the campus of the Université Joseph-Fourier in Grenoble, together with numerical simulations, confirm that the trees can behave as resonators rebroadcasting the waves of Rayleigh in a certain frequency band in response to the arrival of these of an earthquake. In the end, they are sent deep into the ground, even for large wavelengths. Oddly enough, the most effective protection is obtained with trees planted in a dense and random way. It improves again by covering a larger frequency band if the trees are arranged with decreasing heights.

Yet there is a problem: at the moment, the concept only works if the waves arrive from two directions only. But the researchers are confident. They'll blow up that lock.

Earthquake damaged road

Earthquake damaged road

7 Bathroom Remodel Design Tips for a Healthier and More Eco-Conscious Home*

These seven simple tips will help make your bathroom greener

When you’re remodeling any part of your home, most of your concerns tend to revolve around the time, cost and effort required for the project. Making your home more eco-friendly doesn’t always top the list of priorities at this stage, but it really should. The planet (and your wallet) will thank you for it!

Bathrooms, in particular, are immense guzzlers of water and energy. A bathroom renovation is the best time to consider small changes that can add up to huge green results.

1. Low-VOC Materials

As you probably know, lead plumbing should be replaced right away, but that isn’t the only thing to worry about from a health perspective.

Many traditional materials emit VOCs (volatile organic compounds) that affect indoor air quality and pose a serious health risk for years. While choosing paint, grout, adhesives, caulk and sealers, opt for low-VOC or no-VOC materials as much as possible.

2. Better ventilation

In addition to foul odors, damp bathrooms offer the perfect breeding ground for mold, bacteria and a host of other nasties. Make sure you’ve got adequate ventilation and maintain good airflow to keep your bathrooms dry.

Installing a bathroom fan isn’t always enough to release trapped moisture and heat from the space. Check that the fan expels air out of your home instead of into the spaces between walls and ceilings. To reduce energy use, consider an exhaust unit with a timer switch, motion sensor or humidity sensor.

3. Water Conservation

Bathrooms are responsible for almost half of all water used in a household, with most of it literally going down the drain. Newer low-flow showers and faucets, low-flush toilets and high-efficiency heaters offer excellent water-saving features.

Adopt better bathroom habits (shorter showers, repairing leaks and drips, closing taps while brushing/shaving, etc.), but take a good long look at your faucets, shower heads, toilet flush units and heaters, too.

4. Energy-Efficient Lighting

Whether it’s a small bathroom remodel or a larger space you’re taking on, the right lighting choices can cut down energy use tremendously. There’s a wide range of LED lights and low-wattage lighting systems that use very little electricity and emit less heat, too, so look into your options.

These may cost more initially, but the energy savings can make up for the difference in as little as a year (and they last up to 20 years!). Use natural light to your advantage with skylights and windows.

5. Water-Resistant Surfaces

Wallpaper and carpeting are your worst enemies during a bathroom remodel, since they offer no resistance to water. In a damp space, these materials will become a hot spot for mold and bacteria faster than you’d believe, and they’re often high in VOC emissions, too.

Bathrooms need to withstand heavy use, cleaning and water exposure. Stick to low-VOC finishes and materials that are water-resistant, such as ceramic or recycled-glass tiles. These are stylish and eco-friendly, and available in various designs and colors to suit every interior space.

6. Sustainably Sourced Fittings

Natural materials like bamboo and wood are popular choices for bathroom cabinets and fittings, but make sure they’re from sustainable sources.

Particle board and MDF (medium-density fiberboard) surfaces emit a carcinogenic gas called urea formaldehyde, so seal them with low-VOC or non-VOC materials or avoid using them at all.

7. Natural Products

While this isn’t technically a bathroom remodel tip, we believe it’s important, especially since natural and organic products help improve indoor air quality. Using chemical-laden products in an eco-friendly bathroom makes no sense, does it?

Instead, opt for cleaning products (or body, skin and hair care products) that are fragrance- and chemical-free.

Taking all these considerations into mind before you begin renovating your bathroom is the easiest way to ensure you have a clean, green space. Happy remodeling!

 

DESIGN

Would you like to add a design touch to your new greener bathroom? In its classy latest article Top Reveal shares 20 elegant design for a new bathroom, for a new you.

CLEANLINESS

As you're upgrading your bathroom, make sure to take into account how easy it will be to clean it in the future. HomeViable.com shares a comprehensive article on bathroom cleaning to help you through it. 

 

 

 

 

*source - Earth911.

 

 

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New owner

As per December 1st 2016 Kaltimber has a new husband-and-wife owner team!

After many years of hard work and constant improvement Yoga and Alex are going for new adventures while Guillaume and Siti are taking over!

On January 1st 2017, Kaltimber will resume its activities on decking, flooring, paneling, counter-top and other B2B oriented objects (in-house design or custom design).

  • Our production team; still is the same so you will continue to find this unique quality Kaltimber has to offer.
  • Our sourcing team; still is the same so you will continue to find quality reclaimed hardwood from ethical and legal sources.
  • Our sales team; still is the same so you will continue to find precise and professional information, quick reply and this forever smile.

We are looking forward to meet all of you to discuss and assist you on your projects, no matter how big or small they are.

Avoiding destruction in your construction

This 8km, 15 year old road in East Kalimantan is due to be shipped off to Bali and replaced with new illegal Ulin wood

This 8km, 15 year old road in East Kalimantan is due to be shipped off to Bali and replaced with new illegal Ulin wood

In today’s ever-globalising world, it is hard for the discerning consumer to know where the wood they buy comes from. How do we get reliable information the wood’s origins, particularly when production is increasingly less localised and further away from the point of sale?

It is not easy, but it is possible.

The current laws for both new and reclaimed wood are, quite frankly, not that great and wide open to loopholes, as a recent trip to Kalimantan showed me. Exploiting a 2008 regulation from the Ministry of Forestry on inter-island trading of Ulin (Kalimantan Ironwood), I met with traders who were busy setting up deals with communities to replace their 15 year-old Ulin roads and bridges with new Ulin, only to sell the old stuff to the Bali reclaimed wood market! The old wood was pulled up as the new stuff was being simultaneously laid down. As one trader said, ‘We can’t send it out of Kalimantan, but we can replace the old wood with new and send that out instead!’

Much of this imported reclaimed wood ends up in the yards of reclaimed wood wholesalers in Denpasar, who supply raw material to many projects and retailers on Bali.

What concerns me is the possibility that the demand for reclaimed wood in Bali and elsewhere is actually fueling greater destruction of the forests, instead of the reverse. We got into the reclaimed wood trade because we saw it as a way to re-use an old and valuable material, thus reducing demand on the need for new wood. The average punter we meet generally buys recycled timber in an effort to help the planet.

The government was obviously concerned to when in mid 2007 in an effort to ward off the extinction of Ulin, it froze all harvesting and trade of the species and instigated an island-wide inventory of remaining stands in natural forest. The moratorium on the harvesting and trade of Ulin lasted until mid-2008, when it was replaced by a new law that limited export of Ulin only to a handful of Kalimantan-based timber companies who had existing stocks of Ulin in their forest concessions.

Current regulations require that Ulin traders obtain an endorsement from the BRIK (Forest Industry Revitalisation Agency) and a permit (PROKALINDO) to export Ulin out of Kalimantan. Only a handful of companies currently hold this permit. This has made it very difficult for new Ulin traders to find export markets for their wood.

Reclaimed wood exports require all sorts of permit processes of their own, including site inspection by the forestry department, police and forestry permits and so on. But generally speaking, it is relatively simple for the trained eye to differentiate new wood from recycled.

The big issue is of course sustainability. It was unsustainable and rampant exploitation that led the government to implement a law to restrict Ulin trading in the first place. Ulin has a 50 year in ground rating, which means we can expect a heartwood post to last 50 years, or more if it above ground. Growing at around half a centimetre a year, a 5 x 20 board would be cut from a tree that is at least 40 years old. Roughly speaking, a sustainable cutting cycle for Ulin would need to be at least 50 years. We are all for wood being used by local communities for appropriate applications. But what will this community do when in another 15 years when the roads need replacing again and there is no wood left?

So here are the three things you need to make sure your wood is legitimate reclaimed wood:

  1. Ensure your supplier can provide evidence of the original structure the wood came from and its location (photographs or documentation)
  2. Ensure that the original structure was not replaced with new wood when it was demolished
  3. Only buy from trusted suppliers that can comprehensively and satisfactorily respond to your queries

Building termites out

I was recently called over to a client’s house to take a look at a pool deck that was installed a year previous using reclaimed wood that the supplier had advised was Ulin (Kalimantan ironwood).The deck was literally crumbling and on the surface showed evidence of rot and termite infestation. The installation had all the classic signs of bad building practices and what NOT to do in exterior wood applications!

The enemy of wood... subterranean termites

When building with timbers outside there are 3 main things that we must protect against:
1) Solar degradation, 2) Rot and 3) Termites. I will talk more about sun and rain in forthcoming newsletters, but for the moment lets focus on termites.

There is a myth that some timbers are termite proof, this is simply not true. Certainly some timbers like Ulin (Eusideroxylon zwageri) are less attractive to termites as their heartwood contains specific extractives that have anti decay and insect resistant characteristics. Untreated Ulin heartwood posts are expected to last 50 years in ground contact, giving this timber the distinction of being one of the most durable timbers in the world. For sure this timber is particularly unattractive to termites, but it is not true to say that it is immune to an eventual attack from termites.

The best way to stop termite infestation is by understanding how termites like to live and build things that don’t suit their lifestyle. Although termites need water, they can’t actually drink, instead they absorb it either through the food they eat, or through a waxy layer on their outer skin. Hence if you design your building so all timber is separated by a visual barrier from any water source, you will at least be able to see them coming and going from water to food and stop them in their tracks. A good example of visual barriers are:

  • Reinforced concrete slab with an exposed slab edge (that’s a slab with no cracks greater than 1.2mm (the width of a skinny termite). Termites will have to crawl over and around the slab, to go from water to food, hence you can just check your slab edge regularly.
  • Steel stirrups or shoes on the bottom of posts, so the steel enters the ground and not the timber
  • Flat metal sheet caps on top of the brick columns under your house. (known as Ant Caps). 
  • All of these measures are environmentally friendly work forever at no running cost and all you have to do is a regular inspection.

Most of the termites that attack buildings are subterranean termites, living underground, then coming up inside trees and houses to eat dead wood, getting their water from moist ground contact. Subterranean termites cant crawl about in the open and will have to build mud tunnels to protect them from the sun, making their intrusion into your house much easier to detect and treat. In the tropics we also have arboreal and air born termites that can fly into your home. Again though as before the golden rule is that they all need to gain access to water.

A common practice in Indonesia is to install timber decks and stairs directly onto concrete slabs. This builder had closed the edges of the steps with a small wall of concrete, which had the dual impact of not letting light and air in, and trapping water under the timber boards. This is a big no-no if you want to increase the life of your timber and avoid termites. Exterior timber really needs to be kept dry and be installed in a way that allows good airflow and access. This is particularly important in the tropics, where there is a relatively higher decay and inherent termite hazard than in the temperate zones. In this case, the termites had simply tunneled up from the slab and into the boards.

Remember it’s the combination of water and timber that cause most trouble, so design your house so the timber stays nice and dry and preferably out of the sun. And build your house so it’s comfortable for you to live in but not for termites. Darrin, who runs Termite Web, one of the best information hubs on termites around (http://www.termiteweb.com) advises that we can learn a lot from traditional house building practices in the villages in Southeast Asia, as these communities these have co-existed with termites for hundreds and thousands of years. He reckons stilt building prevents 90% of common termite problems (subterranean termites), because it controls the entry points for termites very well.

Throughout the world there are many agents selling complicated systems for termite protection, including a great range of toxic chemicals and the like. These systems vary from outright stupid to out right dangerous, with a fair amount of crossover in between. Fancy visual barriers i.e. things that termites cant crawl through but must crawl round do work, but are often expensive and often a complex solution to a simple problem. When in doubt fall back on the good old fashioned three step rule:

1. Separate timber from water (including ground) with a visual barrier
2. Regularly check the visual barrier
3. If there is an infestation, bait the termites with a nice soft piece of timber soaked in an accumulative poison that they can take back home and feed the queen to kill off the hive. Killing off 1 or even 1 million termites won’t stop them, killing off their one queen will.

Another small eco-tip… world timber supplies would be much healthier if we simply used the right timber for the right application. So build that one-off handmade guitar out of some amazing beautiful rainforest timber, but don’t waste that timber making wood pulp for paper or packing crates! And use a good quality, preferable second hand exterior grade timber in an exterior application and try not to waste it on interior uses where a less resistant more common and perhaps even prettier timber will do.

By the way, we checked the termite infested timber that my client had installed and it turned out it was NOT ulin… it was a less-resistant Shorea species completely unsuitable for external applications!

For more information read “Building out Termites” by Robert Verkerk

Thanks to Dave Hodgkin and Darrin from Termite Web for help with this article.