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Junckers | Sustainable materials, low operational energy and end-user wellbeing

WHEN Schmidt Hammer Lassen Architects was commissioned to re-design a large conference centre on North Zealand, Denmark, sustainable building practices and materials, low operational energy and end-user wellbeing were high on the agenda.

Part of a complete transformation, the new, contemporary interior features a total of 2,300sq m Junckers 15mm Oak Classic plank flooring, fitted throughout circulation and breakout areas as well as in all conference rooms. Delivered unfinished, the solid oak flooring was finished onsite using Junckers’ White Oil to create a pale floor which reflects a lot of natural light but also contributes towards reducing overheating in the building during the warmer months of the year, and therefore reducing the need for climate management systems.

True to architectural traditions commonly applied in the Nordic countries, SHL created an inclusive and nurturing space, providing the perfect setting for learning, reflection and relationship building. Not only concerned with light and aesthetics, SHL bases its work on democracy, welfare, sustainability and social responsibility, a commitment which results in buildings with a high degree of wellbeing.

Contributing to everyday wellbeing, a pale floor will help reduce the need for artificial light and therefore saves energy. In contrast to a dark surface, which absorbs and holds heat and subsequently releases it back into the room, a pale floor reportedly won’t contribute to overheating, reducing the need for air conditioning systems.

Chosen not only for its aesthetics, the smooth surface of a Junckers floor which cannot harbour dust or mites and ensures a healthy indoor climate, says the company.

‘Low levels of VOCs and formaldehyde, a key part of the health and wellbeing targets set out in the RIBA 2030 Climate Challenge, all Junckers’ floors hold the Danish Indoor Climate label and have undergone extensive degassing and odour testing to ensure there are no chemical substances in the flooring. As an all-natural material, wood contributes to a balanced environment as it helps maintain an even temperature in a room and reduces static from any electrical equipment.

‘A light-coloured floor helps enhance daylighting, another key part of the RIBA’s list of targets.

Specifiers are increasingly concerned with using building practices and materials that help mitigate the climate crisis and help a building project towards net zero carbon status.

‘As public buildings, schools and education facilities now have to demonstrate carbon reduction in order to receive funding; and architects, interior designers and main contractors have pledged to mitigate the climate crisis through schemes such as Architects Declare and Contractors Declare, more and more clients will be asking for independently verified data showing a company’s environmental impact from cradle to gate, embodied carbon figures, longevity and recyclability.

Therefore, it’s important for the flooring industry to keep up to date with the latest developments and standards, to confidently offer clients advice on environmentally sound flooring options.

‘When it comes to choosing flooring, comparing products by cost is second nature, but in the last few years, more and more emphasis is placed on the environmental impact of a product, its embodied carbon levels, and raw material sources.’

Solid wood flooring has always been regarded as a high-quality choice providing a safe, high performing floor with unbeatable lifecycle costs.

‘A hardwearing and long-lasting choice, a Junckers floor is an investment that will outlast most other flooring surfaces. A Junckers 22mm floor can be sanded and re-finished eight to 10 times during its life and with 12-year intervals between sandings, a typical lifespan of 60 years will comfortably be exceeded.’

Junckers continues: ‘In addition, a solid hardwood floor from Junckers is one of the most environmentally friendly flooring options on the market – all Junckers’ timber comes from managed forests with FSC and PEFC chain of custody certification and are manufactured in a carbon neutral facility.’

Junckers says it’s also completed Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) for its floors, a move towards simplifier specification for buildings targeting a net zero carbon rating. ‘Junckers floors are A+ rated in the BRE Green Guide and have EMAS 111 and ISO 14001 Environmental Management Certification. Junckers’ products have low (E1) formaldehyde emissions under EN 14342. At the end of their long lives, they can often be reused and are very easy to recycle, in contrast to materials made from fossil fuels.’ 
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