Awareness of sustainability in our built environment is becoming a key factor in procurement decisions for building materials.  Internationally recognised certifications such as Green Building and Living Building are becoming a popular way to measure and monitor the environmental impact of new buildings.

Living Building Challenge

Contributing to the achievement of the high standards of the Living Building Challenge, TimberLab’s FSC Certified Glulam products form the main structural system for this first in New Zealand Living Building – Tūhoe’s Te Kura Whare.

Certification Performance Categories

GREEN STAR LIVING BUILDING
Management Place
Indoor Environment Quality Water
Energy Energy
Transport Health and Happiness
Water Materials
Materials Equity
Land Use and Ecology Beauty
Emissions
Innovation

Volatile Organic Compounds – Formaldehyde

Formaldehyde is found in every living system – all wood species, and therefore all wood products contain and emit small amount of formaldehyde. At high levels of exposure, formaldehyde is a known carcinogen but in small concentrations, formaldehyde is not known to cause adverse health effects. It metabolizes quickly so does not accumulate in the body.

VOCs, including formaldehyde are key factors relating to the discomfort reported by people working or living inside “air-tight” buildings. VOCs and specifically formaldehyde are of interest in Engineered Wood Products containing adhesives, which can be associated with emissions.

To satisfy certification requirements, credit is available where all engineered wood products used in a project have no or low formaldehyde levels according to stipulated formaldehyde limits.

TimberLab has recently undertaken formaldehyde emission testing on a range of TimberLab Glulam and LVL products to satisfy requirements for Indoor Pollutants.  Formaldehyde emission testing was carried out in accordance with AS/NZS 4357.4.

Formaldehyde Test Results

DESCRIPTION GLUE TYPE # LAM’S GRADE TREATMENT TEST RESULT (mg/L)
Pinus Radiata Glulam M9 MUF 2 lam’s at 45 mm GL8 H1.2 0.14
Pinus Radiata Glulam R15 Resorcinol 2 lam’s at 45 mm GL8 H1.2 0.15
Pinus Radiata Glulam R15 Resorcinol 2 lam’s at 45 mm GL8 H3.2 CCA 0.15
Pinus Radiata Glulam R15 Resorcinol 2 lam’s at 45 mm GL8 H3.2 MCA 0.15
Pinus Radiata Glulam R15 Resorcinol 2 lam’s at 45 mm GL8 H5 CCA 0.19
Pinus Radiata LVL HySpan R15 Resorcinol 25 lam’s at 3.6 mm LVL13 H1.2 0.12
Pinus Radiata Glulam R15 Resorcinol 5 lam’s at 18 mm GL8 H3.2 CCA 0.27

Note: wood product emissions are species-specific, and these test results may not apply to products from different manufacturers.

Seven Glulam and LVL products were tested for formaldehyde emissions. The tested samples contained different laminate thicknesses, different treatment levels, and different adhesive types.

  • Adhesive type. Emissions seemed to be unaffected by adhesive type.
  • Treatment. H1.2 emissions were similar to H3.2 and H5 showed slightly elevated emissions.
  • Laminate thickness. Thinner laminates resulted in higher emissions.

All tests showed very low levels of emitted formaldehyde; the maximum emission being 0.27 mg/L. To meet Green Star requirements, test results must be less than 1 mg/L (under AS/NZS 4357.4 test protocol) which is almost 4 times greater than the highest test result recorded from TimberLab products. All test results for TimberLab products passed even the most stringent Super E0 emission level, set at 0.3 mg/L.

It can therefore be concluded that TimberLab Glulam and LVL products have a negligible impact on indoor air quality.

Other Environmental Certifications

EPD (Environmental Product Declaration). In 2019, TimberLab, as a member of the Wood Processors and Manufacturers Association of NZ (WPMA) contributed to the submission for timber products made in New Zealand from Radiata Pine. This was subsequently approved and the EPD was registered and published.
The EPD process assesses environmental impact, resource use, and waste output across 27 different environmental impact criteria. The full assessment report can be downloaded from our website. https://www.timberlabsolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/EPD-17-October-2019.pdf

FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) Certification.TimberLab Solutions Ltd hold FSC® Chain of Custody Certification with FSC license code FSC-C084824, certified by Preferred by Nature for the supply of FSC certified timber.

Material is sourced from renewable NZ Radiata plantation forests that are sustainably managed and recognised as contributing environmental benefits as opposed to steel and concrete and scarce rain forest hardwoods.

With FSC certification, we have the proof that our raw materials are obtained from sustainably managed forests, that sourcing of the raw materials is internally monitored and that conditions connected to external monitoring by third parties are fulfilled.