AHEC bring new messages to Carrefour du Bois
The American Hardwood Export Council (AHEC) will be exhibiting at Carrefour du Bois in Nantes between 6th and 8th June (Hall 10.2, Stand GP-E-18).
For the first time, AHEC will have a joint stand with American Softwoods under the banner ‘American Wood Solutions’ and will be promoting strong environmental messages and potential performance through case studies. AHEC members and staff will be on hand to distribute technical publications and field enquiries.
AHEC’s decision to return to the wood show was strategic. In France, the timber industry is leveraging on the effects of the Grenelle de l’Environnement, a national conference which set a number of environmental objectives for the building industry including a new standard on building insulation (RT2012) which is creating a strong incentive to increase the percentage of wood material used in buildings. The U.S. share of EU-25 hardwood lumber imports in the first 9 months of 2011 stood at 18% and the industry now sees good growth potential in the French market. Carrefour du Bois is an important platform for timber merchants in France and attracts more than 10,000 professional visitors (timber product manufacturers, timber merchants, distributors, architects, and contracting authorities) of which 15% will be international visitors coming from Europe, America and North Africa.
Returning with good news
AHEC will be returning to Carrefour with good news for specifiers and the timber trade. With sustainable design solutions at the top of the agenda for the French building sector and government initiatives to further increase the use of wood in building, it is a perfect opportunity for AHEC to talk about its life cycle research. AHEC's recent work with LCA specialists PE International brings timber to the forefront of the materials debate and sets it above many other material sectors in terms of environmental impact largely because of its renewability and carbon storage. AHEC began the study 2 years ago and has developed detailed life cycle data and Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for all the main commercial U.S. hardwoods in both lumber and veneer. More than 50 U.S. hardwood companies have taken part in the data collection so that average values can be determined for each processing stage including forestry, sawmilling, kiln drying and transport. The lumber data collection is now complete and is currently being critically reviewed by an independent panel of experts. It is hoped that some of the early findings will be published in time for Carrefour. The research so far has expelled myths about transport from America because shipping American hardwoods by sea freight across the Atlantic, a journey of over 6,000km, requires little more energy than an overland road journey of 500k and therefore U.S. hardwoods exported to Europe have a relatively low carbon footprint in terms of transportation. This will reassure potential users and specifiers that by choosing U.S. hardwood species they will still be making a positive environmental decision.
According to AHEC’s European Director David Venables, ‘One of the key objectives of this study will be to provide architects and specifiers with Environment Product Declarations (EPDs) that will enable them to assess and compare the total environmental impact of a product or material along a science based approach that is independently verified. We hope this study will demonstrate to specifiers that American hardwoods can also make a significant contribution to improving the carbon footprint of buildings and to sustainable building design’.
The other good news that AHEC has for the audience of Carrefour is that hardwoods have an increasingly important role to play in wood construction. AHEC will be distributing the French version of the ‘Timber Wave’ publication which shows how AHEC, ARUP and AL_A Architects experimented with red oak to create a unique and dramatic 12 and half metre curved structure for last year’s London Design Festival. Full structural data is already available for 4 American hardwood species under the design standard Eurocode 5 and it was this data which enabled the ‘Timber Wave’ to work in the way it did. AHEC are keen to promote the idea to architects and engineers that in some cases using high performing hardwoods can reduce the amount of wood used in a structure and the same time enhance its aesthetic appeal.
For more information about AHEC’s presence at Carrefour du Bois please contact email@example.com