VELUX turns century-old wood into new roof windows
VELUX Group brings new life to old wood from buildings constructed in 1910 by making reclaimed timber roof windows for a project in The Netherlands. They represent a ‘VELUX experiment’ to meet a special request for the use of upcycled building materials.
This unique product innovation showcases the willingness of the Group to listen to customer needs and to try new things. It is a kind of ‘VELUX experiment’ that’s in the spirit of VELUX founder Villum Kann Rasmussen, who once said (and which is now a company motto): “One experiment is worth more than 1,000 expert views”. The main purpose of this experiment is to firstly prove it can be done and secondly to learn more about actual market needs for upcycled building materials.
The fact that we dared to try something new is what is important and what makes it even better is the environmental focus of this project. In the future, we may need to think more about using recycled materials in the manufacturing of our windows and with this experiment we are taking a step in the right direction.
Where the windows are installed
In this experiment, a total of 93 windows were manufactured using reclaimed timber. The first windows have already been installed in the attics of a public housing complex in The Netherlands. The installation of all windows and the entire roof renovation is expected to be finalised by April 2019.
How the windows differ from standard VELUX roof windows
The quality and functionality of the reclaimed timber roof windows is the same as standard VELUX roof windows. The only difference is that the timber has a few imperfections like nail and screw holes or marks and penetrations from other building materials, such as hinges. The window’s surface, which is visible when installed, is painted white, just like standard VELUX roof windows of this type. To distinguish the reclaimed timber windows from standard roof windows, the timber which is hidden after installation is clear-lacquered to reveal its authenticity.
The VELUX Group will now assess this first attempt at working with reclaimed timber materials. Every step involved in production will be scrutinised to establish key learnings and identify ways to optimise processes before any decision is made about the commercial viability of manufacturing this type of window. It is too soon to know if there could be a market for reclaimed timber roof windows and therefore if they could become part of the VELUX product range.
For now, it’s an experiment only but it has been very interesting to be involved. Perhaps in the future this kind of window could help to reduce unnecessary building material waste and positively contribute to the creation of a circular economy.
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The VELUX Group creates better living environments with daylight and fresh air through the roof. The VELUX product programme contains a wide range of roof windows and skylights, along with solutions for flat roofs. The Group also supplies many types of decoration and sun screening, roller shutters, installation products, and products for remote control. The VELUX Group, which has manufacturing companies in 11 countries and sales companies in just under 40 countries, represents one of the strongest brands in the global building materials sector and its products are sold in most parts of the world. The VELUX Group has about 10,000 employees and is owned by VKR Holding A/S, a limited company wholly owned by foundations and family. For more details, visit www.velux.com.
About the reclaimed timber windows
The timber used in the roof window frames and sashes is provided by Dutch urban mining company A Van Liempd. The timber, which is Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified, is carefully dismantled from old buildings and then culled and prepared to suit VELUX roof window manufacturing processes. This means that the timber has an extended life as it is first used for 60-100 years in a building and then used a further 30-40 years in a roof window. Each finished window is labelled to show its FSC and reclaimed timber origins. There is no difference in the quality, performance or durability of a reclaimed timber roof window compared with a standard VELUX GGL roof window. The windows are of the type IGU-50 and are made only for a renovation project by the Woondbedrijf housing co-operation in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. Woondbedrijf is environmentally-focused and therefore the use of ‘green’ building materials in these specially-made roof windows fits nicely with its goals. Furthermore, The Netherlands is often a first mover in terms of green building initiatives.