08 February 2008

Wooden Board Upon the Wall, Who is the Greenest Green of All?

After we wrote about our FSC-certified MDF shelf ‘Never Empty’, we had quite a few readers contacting us about more eco-friendly alternatives. To close of some storage space and to build more shelves in the studio, we went out hunting again for the greenest engineered wood options, the disadvantage of which is mainly the high amount of toxic resins they contain.

OSB (Oriented Strand Board), as suggested by Terra Foundation, ended up being the best material for us to build some sliding doors in order to close of a storage area on top of the bathroom (see photo). We like the visual effect of the unevenly layered flakes of wood and appreciate its strength. An environmental advantage of this board is that any kind of tree and even the smallest branches of a tree, can be shredded and used. The amount of resin in OSB is very low (less than 5%) compared to other engineered woods (up to 85% in MDF). However, we recommend you check that they don’t contain formaldehyde. Unfortunately, it is very difficult to get this kind of information from your regular wood dealer. In fact, we found it almost impossible to have our order cut to size and delivered due to the small amount we needed. In the end we obtained everything at Servei Estaciò in Barcelona, who do free deliveries in the city centre and are willing to cut any given amount. The price per m2 is 26,90€ for 10mm thick boards. For more information and the technical specifications of OSB, click here.

A cheaper option is chipboard at 13,80€ / m2, which we used for the shelves in the studio (see photo). This is one of the weakest fibreboards (hence cheaper) and, unlike OSB, is not recommended for outdoors use or in moist areas like kitchens. Due to the larger pieces of wood shavings used to make chipboard, it’s not as attractive-looking as other fibreboards. You can however paint it afterwards. Most of the wood particles used to make chipboard are recycled (75% in Canada and the US) and the amount of resin used during the manufacturing is also low (between 4 and 10%). At Servei Estaciò they even assured us their chipboard didn’t contain any resin- but we don’t quite believe them…

When you are looking for boards, make sure you use formaldehyde-free chipboard and preferably made of 100% recycled or recovered wood fibres.

1 comment:

Black_Hand said...

The greenest to date is a OSB type board made from Sorghum and Cotton Stalks, that uses a bio-resin as a binder instead of MDI. In strength and beuty it beats OSB and conventional particle board hands down. Because of its bio-resin binder it makes it the most green yet. Check out www.chloroearth.com