Cabinco Ltd makes extensive use of timber cladding to form the “weathering envelope” of its sustainable buildings for good reason: it is, first and foremost, our only truly renewable natural resource, as well as being reusable, and having minimal embodied energy.
Siberian Larch (larix sibirica), Cabinco’s preferred cladding material, comes from sustainably managed sources in mid-eastern Siberia, where it accounts for approximately two thirds of the 230 million hectare afforested area. Thanks to legislation, and a strong tradition of forest management, or silviculture, annual planting/growth rates comfortably exceed felling. Full FSC/PEFC certification is available.
In the particular context of the school/public building environment, the major attractions of Siberian Larch are its HARDNESS, and DURABILTY: both properties which mean that it is a LOW MAINTENANCE CLADDING solution.
An example of Larch’s natural durability can be found in the millions of “tolpi” or timber piles upon which Venice still sits to this day!!!!!
From an aesthetic perspective, Larch, being a “shade intolerant” species is generally free of large knots, and fine grained when compared to commercially available spruce/pine.
[singlepic id=1107 w=320 h=240 float=right]Colour on installation ranges from yellow through orange and gold to brown, from sap to heartwood, but will “weather down” to an attractive, largely uniform, silver hue over time. This weathering property is now becoming a sought after design characteristic by many architects specialising in the sustainable building sector.
In the longer term, working with the Welsh Timber Forum (www.welshtimberforum.co.uk/) of which Cabinco are members, using even more “BREEAM friendly” homegrown Larch (larix decidua) may well become an option. For more on this, see their April 2011 Larch Report: