The cradle-to-grave eco approach

by Darren

Wooden window and door manufacturer, Swartland, provides an overview of lifecycle assessment and analysis of its products to meet the most stringent environmental requirements.


There are many individual aspects that help to define a product’s green credentials, but to understand how “green” it actually is, it’s essential to look at the environmental impact of the product from a holistic perspective. This is what is termed as a life-cycle assessment, or a cradle-to-grave analysis.

Says Cobus Lourens from leading wooden window and door manufacturer, Swartland: “A cradle-to-grave analysis offers an overview of a product’s complete lifecycle – from resource extraction (cradle) to the use and the disposal phase (grave). It is a technique that is used to assess the environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a product’s life – from raw material extraction, through its processing, manufacture, distribution, use, repair and maintenance – right through to the disposal or recycling phase. They help to negate a narrow outlook on environmental claims – a product is not necessarily green just because it is a good insulator; there are a lot of other factors that need to be considered before it can truly make that claim.”

Cobus says that globally manufacturers have embraced a commitment to sustainability and are differentiating themselves advantageously in this regard:  “The ‘green’ trend will continue to drive product and service design and innovation. We believe that Swartland’s customers are experiencing the measurable benefits of our innovative designs with products, such as our energy efficient double-glazed windows for example, as well as various features such as our performance enhancing insulating composite gasket seals.”

However, he says it is Swartland’s holistic outlook to sustainability that is especially impressive: “It is rewarding to know that we are saving energy and therefore money for our customers, while helping to save the environment at the same time. Wood is a sustainable and renewable construction material when it is sourced from sustainably managed forests and mills.”

Cobus notes that when looking at a product’s green credentials, it is important to keep its lifecycle in mind, as every part of its journey will ultimately affect how eco-friendly it actually is. For example, all Swartland’s products boast exceptional ratings with a sustainability journey that includes Swartland only sourcing wood from sustainably managed forests in Gabon, where Okoume trees grow for years and absorb tons of carbon from the earth’s atmosphere in their lifetime. Swartland also supports mills that follow sustainable harvesting practices, according to strict government forest management policies.

Pine is also sourced from suppliers that are certified with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). By using FSC-certified timber, Swartland helps to promote socially and environmentally responsible forestry.

The comparatively low energy that is embodied in the harvesting and transport of Okoume timber from Gabon to South Africa is just one of the reasons why Swartland’s products have a relatively low carbon footprint. Pine is also sourced as close as economically possible to the manufacturing source.

Swartland’s German-formulated and manufactured eco-friendly, water-based Maxicare wood treatment product ensures that the lifespan of its doors and windows are extended, with very little maintenance required. This treatment process helps to provide Swartland customers with the unique product guarantee that they have come to expect.

Swartland’s Ready-2-Fit range of pre-sealed and pre-glazed wooden windows and doors are compliant with all the National Building Regulations. In order to ensure that the Ready-2-Fit range is compliant with SANS 613 and 204 (Fenestration Products) Mechanical Performance Criteria, the products are tested for deflection, structural strength, water-resistance, air-tightness, operating forces, and the best possible energy efficiency. As a result, all Swartland’s Ready-2-Fit windows have unique mechanical property values assigned to them from A1 to A4.

The primary cradle-to-grave benefit associated with Swartland’s wood products is that it is a truly natural material – wood will biodegrade after deconstruction if it isn’t reused.

“Swartland is proud of the way its products and practices reflect its vision to make a positive difference to people and the planet. At Swartland, we are aware that our own business sustainability is directly linked to the sustainability of the environment, and in particular, to the sustainability of natural resources. It is just a matter of time until all organisations make the same realisation,” concludes Cobus.

Tel: (011) 671 0400
Website: www.swartland.co.za

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