Moving towards net zero carbon schools

The welcome news that schools across England are set for a transformative ten-year construction programme under new plans set out by the Government has provided a much-needed boost to the sector. The first major school rebuilding programme to be launched since 2014 will start in 2020-21 with the first 50 projects receiving over £1 billion in funding. Projects for the first phase will be confirmed this autumn with construction set to begin from September next year.

A major change since the initial school building programme was released is a new procurement process focused on carbon reduction. The Department for Education has announced its aim to build net zero carbon schools and informed its framework of contractors to submit tenders accordingly. Working towards a net zero carbon future, every part and every detail of a project count. Every material specified needs to meet crucial criteria – Is it sustainable? Is it reusable? Is it recyclable? How long will it last? How is it produced? How can in contribute to a better cared for environment?

Universally known for its high environmental credentials, wood is a material that scores highly on all aforementioned criteria. Every Junckers floor is made of strong, durable solid hardwood, there are no layers of inferior quality; no glue or harmful chemical substances which can adversely affect the air in a room. Crucially, there is no reliance on fossil fuel derived materials, as with other sports flooring surfaces. Vinyl (PVC) sports flooring, once commonly used in schools, is an oil-based product. Oil is a non-sustainable resource and therefore does not fit in with the current drive to safeguard our environment for the future. Old vinyl floors cannot be reused or recycled and most of the waste is taken to landfill sites. As vinyl flooring is not biodegradable, it sits in landfill for generations and is hazardous and costly.

In contrast, an environmentally sound, fully recyclable option, albeit after a much longer lifespan than any other sports flooring surface, is a solid hardwood floor from Junckers. Junckers timber comes from legal and sustainably managed sources, and the company has internationally known FSC® and PEFCTM accreditations as well as EPDs (Environmental Product Declarations) for all its flooring. Junckers floors have BREEAM A+ rating.

Timber is a natural carbon-neutral material, storing carbon during its life then releasing it at the end. Junckers does not intensively reprocess the wood by multi-layering or using large amounts of energy, glue and resins. Wood waste is used to power the entire factory site, but this produces more electricity than the company needs. The surplus is sold to the local grid making Junckers a carbon neutral company.

Junckers’ solid wood floors retain their strength exceptionally well throughout their lives. Independent testing shows that a Junckers sports floor, after two sandings, has more strength than a “equivalent” engineered floor that has never been sanded. Unlike an engineered board, a solid wood floorboard has no core structure to break down, and the central dovetail in a Junckers board can be sanded without loss of strength. A Junckers solid hardwood floor may be sanded between eight and ten times during its life. Life spans in excess of 60 years are easily achievable, which means lower demands upon natural materials and a long time span between installation and when the floor needs to be recycled.

Solid hardwood boards can be reclaimed if they have useful life remaining. Floating or nailed floors are eminently re-useable and when sanded and sealed can look like a brand new floor. If need be, solid wood waste is easily recycled and is usually uncontaminated.

The combination of performance, longevity, low lifecycle costs and ease of maintenance of a Junckers wood floor is often the deciding point for schools and further education colleges. The exceptional durability means it can be used for so much more than sports and activities. In current times, your sports hall may have to double up as a teaching space or dining area, the floor will easily stand up to the change in use and does not need to be covered or protected in any way. A Junckers sports floor is strong enough to accept tired seating, making it suitable for performances and tournaments – the floor could earn its keep during out-of-school hours. Now, with the focus on achieving net zero carbon schools, choosing a Junckers floor with full environmental credentials means your investment helps future-proof your school.

Since 2015, Junckers has supplied sports flooring for 1583 schools, which amounts to 615,000m2 of flooring and equals 1035 four badminton court size sports halls. And for non-sports projects, Junckers has installed its solid hardwood floors in 390 schools = 126,000m2.

To receive one of Junckers’ guides to sustainable flooring, please contact us today. We offer technical help and advice tailored to each project.

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