Forests cover one third of the land on our planet. They produce vital oxygen and provide homes for humans and wildlife. But forests around the world are under threat from deforestation. According to the WWF, the equivalent of 36 football fields is being lost every minute. And one of the main causes is logging.
One Norwegian company says it has developed an environmentally-friendly alternative with similar properties to hardwood,
based on sustainable softwood which has been modified through the infusion of a natural biowaste liquid and heat.
Kebony, as it is called, has similar properties to tropical hardwood including improved stability, durability and aesthetics. It has already been used in several high-profile projects, including London’s Battersea Power Station pop-up park.
“A traditional hardwood has some properties that are really good when you are working with wood outdoors. It lasts for a long time, it looks great and it has a long lifetime. But now, after we have seen all the environmental hazards by exploiting tropical hardwoods, there is surely a need for something that could replace that in an environmentally-friendly method,” says Jan Terje Nielsen, Marketing Director at Kebony.
Other benefits, according to the manufacturer, are good decay resistance in harsh climates and a long life span.
It is hoped this new, sustainable material could provide an alternative not only to tropical hardwood, but also to other building materials such as plastic, metal and concrete.
Only the test of time will tell whether whether this new generation wood lives up to expectations and succeeds in diverting demand away from tropical forests.