Green thinking and the great outdoors: how decking can help the planet
In recent decades, the UK has experienced a growing trend for upgrading our outdoor space – in restaurants, hotels, spas and of course people’s own homes. As we know, this has led to the booming popularity of outdoor decking like Trex.
And the current focus on sustainability and reducing the environmental impact of all projects means that installers and homeowners are starting to consider their carbon footprint in all areas – including decking.
Top image: Deck installed by Simon Thomas Deck & Design
What about wood?
As a natural material, many assume that timber decking is the most environmentally conscious option. But is that always true?
That depends on the source: at Arbordeck, all of our timber is from well-managed forests, which is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified or which carries ‘Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification’ (PEFC) status. That means that our installers can be reassured that the timber for our softwood decking boards is as sustainably sourced as possible.
However, as installers know all too well, timber decking can come with its own issues, needing ongoing maintenance over the years which will require both energy and the use of chemicals. Not all wood-stains or treatments can claim to be environmentally friendly, and using sanders and other machinery to keep a timber deck in good shape can affect the decks’ operational carbon (that is, the carbon footprint generated by any building or project once it is in use).
Thankfully, there is a handy solution, as high-quality composite decking like Trex offers both sustainability and longevity, without the need for regular upkeep.
Is composite really a green option?
The short answer is: yes! However, it’s important to point out that the composite decking market has expanded considerably in the past five years alone, with a host of new decking boards flooding onto the UK market, not all of which are as environmentally minded as Trex, or as high in quality.
That’s why it’s important for installers and homeowners to educate themselves on the different types of decking – and what makes a high-quality, environmentally sound, decking board different from the rest.
The best quality options are solid-core composite decking boards, such as Trex. These boards have excellent environmental credentials as well as offering a guaranteed staying power when correctly installed.
Solid-core decking – and fascias – like Trex offer lots of advantages, not least in terms of the materials used for manufacture. Trex decking boards are made using up to 95 per cent recycled materials, including both post-consumer wood and plastic waste such as plastic bags or packaging, which can be tricky to recycle and would usually be destined for landfill.
And Trex has even taken steps to further reduce the impact of its manufacturing processes at its US-based factories. This includes recycling scrapped boards back through the factory, and even recycling water using sophisticated closed-loop recirculation systems to reduce water use.
What’s more, the decking itself requires minimal maintenance. Trex – the gold-standard of decking boards – comes with a 50-year warranty for domestic installations, and won’t warp, split or fade – meaning that there is no need for chemical treatments like staining or painting.
From the factory to your front door
Of course, for plenty of outdoor materials – from timber to stone – carbon footprint can be affected by importing and transportation.
There’s more good news here, as Trex is finding new ways to ‘green’ its deliveries too, increasingly turning to more environmentally sound transport policies, including transport by rail rather than road, and has adapted its practice to deliver raw materials direct to the factory site rather than storing them off-site first.
By choosing a Trex deck, installers and homeowners can be assured that they’re working with a supplier which has put in place measures to ensure that the carbon footprint of deliveries is kept down too. At Arbor Forest Products, we’re also constantly seeking new ways to reduce our environmental impact, using more low-carbon vehicles, and only shipping when a vehicle is full – made possible by our unique Warehouse on Wheels concept.
So you can enjoy the great outdoors safe in the knowledge that you’re doing your bit for the planet while you do.