Danes promote non-chemical wood preservation

EPA promotes traditional methods of maximising timber life in place of pressure treatment

The Danish Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has published a report which it claims to be the most comprehensive documentation to date of environment-friendly techniques for protecting wood.

Denmark was among the first countries to ban a number of chemical wood preservatives under legislation enacted from the mid-nineties. During the same period, the EPA commissioned a series of laboratory and field tests aimed at identifying and developing greener alternatives.

In large part, it says, this means reviving traditional methods, many of which have fallen into disuse. One simple example is to ensure that the tougher, heartwood side of a plank faces outwards, which vastly improves durability. Another method is "to protect wood by designing outdoor constructions in such a way that the wood does not accumulate moisture".

The choice of tree species is also crucial, according to the report. It claims that thuja, larch, oak, spruce and fir can often replace impregnated timber.

Follow Up:
Danish EPA, tel: +45 32 66 01 00. The report is entitled: "Documentation of Wood Protection by Design".

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