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Shaping the future with sustainability and climate protection

post klimaneutrales unternehmen

elka-Holzwerke in Morbach, Germany, was certified as a climate-neutral company in August 2021
by the Initiative for Climate Protection for the Wood Industry.

For many years, elka has been committed to healthy living, reducing emissions, and sustainability. The company has been working with wood as a renewable raw material for 115 years and has always maintained a close relationship with nature.

In a unique and exemplary value chain, the round timber used is processed into useful wood products for the construction industry.

As early as April 2021, elka's innovative esb product line became the first wood-based panels on the German market to be certified as climate-neutral. Renewable and CO2-neutral building materials help conserve fossil and mineral resources, while the wood used binds CO2 already absorbed over the long term.

Individual elka products were followed by the elaborate CO2 certification of the entire company, achieved by employing a detailed CO2 eco-balance. This is how elka is consistently pursuing the path to reducing the corporate carbon footprint (CCF) while providing transparency throughout the entire production and supply chain. In summary, 0.021 of CO2 were determined for the total production of 1m³ elka wood products.

Current CO2 emissions, which are unavoidable, were offset thanks to targeted funding of climate-friendly projects. Ultimately, the future will see these results form the basis for identifying reduction potential and planning operational measures to reduce CO2 in manufacturing.

elka demonstrates its responsible use of wood resources by having both its products and processes certified accordingly. The sustainability of elka products has already been certified by the DGNB (German Sustainable Building Council) for the wood-based materials sector. The use of wood from sustainable and environmentally friendly forestry is proven thanks to PEFC and FSC certification. For years, ISO 50001 – an extensive energy management system – has been used to monitor all energy-relevant processes of the company.

Not only are the operational processes at elka permanently optimised, but so is the quality of its workspaces.  A health management system was already established for the employees in 2018, which has proven its worth during the COVID pandemic. 

With its consistent commitment to CO2 certification as a climate-neutral company, elka once again underscores its active approach to sustainable wood processing for the benefit of social developments.

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elka esb panels are climate-neutral products

In Germany, around 30 % of CO2 emissions are caused by buildings. Reducing this ecological footprint helps to protect the climate and saves money too. CO2 reduction starts with the materials used on the building site. Renewable and CO2-neutral materials help to conserve fossil and mineral resources.

esb Klimaneutral

For decades, elka-Holzwerke has been known as an ecological pioneer. With our environmentally friendly, energy-efficient branded products, we deliver above-average quality standards for healthy buildings and living spaces.

Our high-quality, low-emission product lines include the esb Standard and esb PLUS unseasoned spruce panels, and the vita natural wood panel. These product lines guarantee problem-free recycling, dismantling and reuse. The entire range of products is characterised by a special processing-friendly MUF adhesive without isocyanates.

The sustainability of elka products has already been certified by the DGNB (German Sustainable Building Council) for the wood-based materials sector. By joining a new climate protection initiative by the German wood industry, the company is also committing to a comprehensive sustainability strategy and its guidelines for sustainable, climate-friendly development. In keeping with this, the entire esb product range was recently certified as climate neutral on the basis of its transparent CO2 balance. The product certification is based on the annual CO2 balance of the entire company. Certification of our sawn timber department and the vita natural wood panel is also planned.

“Sustainability and ecology are becoming a way of life. Reducing, and even avoiding, CO2 emissions is one of the greatest responsibilities society must take on to ensure that our environment stands the test of time for future generations,” says Marketing Director Dagmar Hilden-Kuntz.

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Sustainability as a new way of life

Healthy lifestyle products from elka-Holzwerke are right on trend

Sustainable purchasing behaviour is playing an increasingly important role among consumers. 81% stated that they set store by sustainability when making purchases (2019). This was the result of a study carried out by audit firm KPMG and the IFH Cologne: "Sustainability is part of our everyday reality and is set to change the economy and society fundamentally. After all, we have finally understood that there are only a limited amount of resources on our earth .....", stressed Stephan Fetsch, KPMG partner and Head of Consumer Goods.

Sustainability and health pioneer

elka-Holzwerke is known as an ecological pioneer that has been delivering good quality standards for decades with its environmentally friendly, energy-efficient branded products. High-quality, low-emission product lines include the spruce fresh wood panels of esb Standard & esb PLUS, with the latter boasting formaldehyde values below 0.03 ppm, as well as the natural wood panel vita. These product lines guarantee problem-free recycling, dismantling and reuse. The entire range of products is characterised by a special processing-friendly MUF glue without isocyanates.

 

Source: Rensch-Haus GmbH - The reference show home "Victoria" from RENSCH-HAUS, built as an Efficiency House 40 Plus, won over the jury of the "German Show Home Award" in 2020 and secured gold in the Premium House category(esb PLUS - Reference).

 

The possible applications for elka products are extremely diverse: from prefabricated houses to high-quality furniture or trade fair construction. The goal of elka product development is to ensure a healthy living environment combined with the most stringent ecological standards. Other eco-labels such as The Blue Angel (Der Blaue Engel) and certification from the Sentinel Haus Institut (for esb PLUS and VITA spruce natural wood panel respectively), as well as the German Institute for Structural Engineering (DIBt) expert report and the wood-based materials seal "Premium Quality" ensure flawless production and high quality products.

The esb PLUS board was additionally presented with the innovation prizes of the IONIC AWARD in 2017 and the Material Award in Ecology in 2018 and the natural wood panel vita was presented with the German Design Award in 2018.

 

Protection of the environment and climate are among the most important concerns

Environmental and climate protection are firmly anchored in the value system of the family-owned company founded in 1906 and based in Morbach in the Hunsrück region. elka only uses domestic wood from sustainable, controlled forestry from within maximum radius of about 150 kilometers – also for ecological reasons. The unique cascade production at elka is a shining example of how the company embraces the notion of environmental protection. All raw materials are completely used in three production lines of sawn timber, chipboard and natural wood production. In this way, C02 emissions are reduced and fossil resources are preserved. These endeavours are further supplemented by a certified energy management system.

 

DGNB - a seal of quality for sustainable construction

A growing awareness of the environment can also be seen in the construction sector. Sustainable construction demands the careful use of existing resources, the minimisation of energy consumption and protection of the environment. The Deutsche Gesellschaft für nachhaltiges Bauen e.V. [German society for sustainable building] (DGNB) has an important role to play here. As well as the above-mentioned aspects, the DGNB's sustainability concept also considers factors such as design, well-being and costs. Depending on the building type, up to 40 sustainability criteria are included in the certification process. Depending on the extent to which these criteria are met, the DGNB awards certificates in platinum, gold, silver or bronze in its building assessment. "We have been observing an increasing number of DGNB-certified houses and buildings among our customers for some time now", explained Dagmar Hilden-Kuntz, the company's Marketing Director & Sales.

Source: Christoph Gutmann (ligna Systems) - reference object esb PLUS exterior and interior photo of the stunt hall in the Aicher Park in Rosenheim

 

elka products now also certified with the DGNB label in the DGNB navigator

Given its clear and public commitment to the environment, cooperation with the DGNB has been a logical and important step in elka's development since 2015. The company was one of the first in the timber industry to be listed in the DGNB Navigator with its complete esb product line and the natural wood panel vita and, most recently, with the official DGNB Label certification.

Choosing the right building product is essential for sustainable construction as well as for the certification result and, in turn, the overall performance of the building. elka-Holzwerke's long-term focus on inclusion of its products in the DGNB Navigator underlines its pioneering role in establishing sustainability and ecology as a lifestyle.

       

esb Standard                 esb Plus 

 

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Healthy timber work fully en vogue

Low emission wood-based materials are rare.The best come from the Hunsrück region

As a family firm in its third generation, elka Holzwerke likes to follow its own traditions. While others were laughing off the early arguments concerning VOC and formaldehyde, company owner Karl-Robert Kuntz was already focussing on panels made from fresh spruce. And now the medium-sized company from the Hunsrück region has become the forerunner in this field. Its innovative board esb PLUS with its extremely low emission values is one of the few to already meet the requirements of the new building regulations.  

In the future, wood-based materials and products will need to adhere to much stricter emission values in order to receive building regulation approval. From 1 January 2019, a new MVV TB (Model Administrative Provisions – Technical Building Rules) applies in Germany. Although the legislative authority affords the manufacturers a grace period until 30 September 2019 for the wood-based panel area (OSB & chipboard), the forward-looking among those working with wood are already

converting to low emission boards and using the few suppliers in this area to cover their raw material requirements.

 

elka Holzwerke already fulfills the MVV TB specifications

At elka Holzwerke, the atmosphere surrounding the stricter specifications is very relaxed. "We have already been fulfilling the specifications for some time," says the Head of Marketing and Sales Dagmar E. Hilden-Kuntz. "Since talk of new limits began, the demand for our products in every segment has shown a pronounced positive development. Our products are in line with the new generation of health-conscious timber construction."

The ecological quality of the elka products is confirmed by ecolabels such as "the blue angel" (esb PLUS and VITA spruce natural wood panel), the "Premium Quality" seal for timber materials, listing in the Austrian "baubook" and certificates from the Sentinel Haus Institut (esb PLUS and VITA spruce natural wood panel), as well as the German Sustainable Building Council. Additionally, the esb board has been awarded the ICONIC AWARD 2017 & the MATERIALpreis 2018 in ecology, and the low emission VITA spruce natural wood panel with the German Design Award 2018.

The variantesb PLUS with its very low VOC values, guaranteed formaldehyde emissions below 0.03 ppm and 100 % recyclability is particularly appreciated in the RAL-certified timber and prefabricated housing industry.

Recently, elka has also begun offering a 15 mm wall panel in a 3-layer composite in the formats 187.5 cm x 265, 280, 300 cm through the new main dealer system.

People working with wood are pleased with the time-saving, quick installation and improved statics of the wall panels.

The standard board esb is also a low emission, practically odourless wooden composite board from pure green wood (Emission standard E1). The spruce wood chips come from sustainable forestry; old timber is not used. Furthermore, a recycling and processing-friendly MUF glue without isocyanate is used.

 

Low emission vita 3-layer boards & wooden acoustic panels

The VITA natural wood panel, a 3-layer board from spruce or Douglas fir, is ideal for furniture, shop and trade fair fitting, as well as sophisticated interior design. The beautiful, continuous grain appears natural, while at the same time VITA is dimensionally stable and affordable. The spruce natural wood panel carries the ecolabel "the blue angel" and a certificate from Sentinel Haus if requested by the customer, as well as the German Design Award 2018. Under the brand name "Holzliebe", elka is marketing digitally printed natural wood panels with an oak or vintage appearance.

The latest innovation for BAU 2019 is the hybrid board e-vita (esb PLUS inside).

This board combines the classy appearance of the VITA natural wood panel with the technical properties of the esb PLUS. The top layers are made from solid spruce, while the 9 mm thick core is basically an esb PLUS board. The middle layer improves the static properties and allows dimensionally stable tongue-and-groove joints. e-vita is suitable for an extremely wide range of applications thanks to its ecological, technical and visual benefits. It can be used in high-quality furniture and interior design as well as in trade fair and shop fitting.

The equally low emission wood acoustic panel VarianteX (esb Silent inside) was developed through cooperation with Lahnau Akustik GmbH.

With its Class B1 Fire Protection certification, the innovative wood fibre panel is a true alternative to timber wool acoustic panels, and with a level of acoustic absorption of αw 0.65 even exceeds them. Its relatively low weight and large formats of up to 1.25 m x 3.45 m also prove advantageous during assembly. Since 2017, numerous nurseries and schools have already been fitted with VarianteX esb Silent inside.

The area of sawn timber is also not overlooked when it comes to innovation at elka. After all, elka Holzwerke originated from a saw mill over 100 years ago and since then has developed into a leading German supplier of sawn timber specialities in spruce/fir and Douglas fir from sustainably managed forests. The business activities range from lumber, square timber and quarter sawn wood, to every type of plank and board, splitting into wedge planks and guttering boards, to an extensive range of planed wood.

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materialPREIS 2018 for esb PLUS

Ecologically award-winning:

The esb PLUS wooden composite board was awarded the 2018 materialPREIS at a ceremony on 5 June. The innovative board made of spruce wood chips took third place in the ecology category, thereby prevailing over all other wood-based materials. The first two places in this category went to textile materials.

The renowned “Award for special materials” is awarded to manufacturers and users in alternating years. The awarding body is the company raumPROBE, which runs the largest material exhibition and database of its kind with over 50,000 materials.

 

esb PLUS won over the jury because it combines outstanding emission levels with technical benefits and a wide application range. The medium-sized elka Holzwerke, based in Hunsrück, predominantly uses spruce wood chips from its own sawmills for esb PLUS. “This is the only way we can guarantee that there is no scrap wood or resin-rich timbers in the boards,” says Managing Director, Gerd Michael Lersch. The spruces originate from sustainable forestry with the PEFC and/or FSC quality seal. A special process guarantees less than 0.03 ppm formaldehyde emission by the board. Recycling-friendly MUF bonding also contributes to the sustainability.

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esb Plus/ VITA