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The Cradle

Triodos Bank

DERIX Group makes taking back used components the standard

The construction of buildings causes 11 per cent of total CO2 emissions worldwide and is responsible for around 55 per cent of waste generation. Our decision on how and with what we construct our buildings therefore has a considerable impact on the climate development of our planet: If we continue to build unchecked with steel, stone and concrete, we will increasingly feel the negative consequences of the current building boom for our climate. However, if we choose to build with wood, we not only avoid CO2 emissions, we even compensate for them: wood extracts CO2 from the atmosphere and stores it. So if we build our buildings out of wood, we are creating huge carbon stores and preventing the CO2 from causing damage in the atmosphere. However, the stored CO2 only remains bound in the wood until it burns or rots – then the wood releases the same amount of CO2 that it previously stored. The entire building industry should therefore set itself the goal of extending the service life of all wooden building components to the maximum in order to use the positive effect of CO2 storage for the protection of the atmosphere for as long as possible.

As a manufacturing company in engineered timber construction, the DERIX Group is committed to protecting the environment and strictly aligns its production processes with the principles of sustainability and resource conservation. For this reason, the company is now taking another big step in the direction of climate protection and circularity: the DERIX Group is making a take-back of used wooden components standard for its customers with immediate effect.

“Here, we deal almost daily with the question of how we can make our processing procedures and operations even more resource-efficient and sustainable. After all, we work with the most sustainable building material there is: Only wood has the wonderful property of removing CO2 from the atmosphere and storing it. Only wood grows again. That is why it is only logical for us to take the next step and offer our customers the option of taking back our high-quality wooden components at a later date. After all, our components are so durable that they can be used for many decades after their production,” Markus Steppler, sales manager at DERIX Group, explains the current innovation.

With the introduction of a take-back obligation, the DERIX Group is starting the implementation of the currently much-invoked “Cradle to Cradle” principle, in which the raw material used is passed on from “cradle to cradle” and ideally should thus become part of an infinite material cycle. This forward-looking concept is maximally resource-conserving, because the raw material is extracted once and then used again and again.

Especially in view of the fact that we do not have an unlimited supply of raw materials, this new way of producing and doing business is gaining immense importance. With sustainable forestry, wood is always available anew – in contrast to concrete and cement, for the production of which enormous amounts of CO2 are released and irreversible interventions in nature are made for the extraction of sand and gravel.

“Using wood from sustainable forestry as a building material protects our environment,” summarises Markus Derix, managing owner of the DERIX Group. “In view of the current challenges posed by climate change, building with wood is actually obligatory. The reuse of wooden building components, which we have now launched, is still the freestyle at the moment. However, I hope that it will soon become generally established as the standard outside our group of companies as well, so that we can all benefit from the positive effects as quickly as possible.”

“Cradle to Cradle” References

The Cradle, Düsseldorf

This office and restaurant building is currently under construction in Düsseldorf’s Medienhafen. In conception, planning and construction, all processes are thought of in cycles and circular solutions are sought along the entire value chain. Essential construction elements are made of wood and are manufactured according to the principle of “design for disassembly”: Reversible connections are used to achieve the greatest possible recyclability through dismantlability.

ABN Amro Bank, Amsterdam – Triodos Bank, Zeist

These two buildings in the Netherlands are also characterised by their focus on circularity: The pavilion “Circl” by ABN Amro even carries its concept in its name – here the idea of circularity was implemented throughout: from the choice of sustainable building materials to the hiring of lighting and lifts, the implementation of a self-sufficient energy concept and the elimination of everything superfluous – consistently right down to the name of the pavilion.

Circular economy and sustainability were also central to the planning of the new Triodos Bank headquarters. The supporting structure, for example, is made almost 100 percent of wood. The five-storey high wooden construction can be completely dismantled. The builder himself sees his building as a “material bank”, because the components can be reused after they have been dismantled.

For more information on the topic and the DERIX Group, please contact Susanne Gruchow at: s.gruchow@derix.de. We are also happy to arrange interviews with our experts on the subject of sustainability and glulam construction.

1) Sources:

Architecture 2030
UN Environmental Global Status Report 2017

Federal Environment Agency, 18.08.2020

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