English Heritage Buildings explains: “In a world where more and more emphasis is placed on being environmentally conscious, we have become increasingly mindful of the building materials and techniques we choose to improve our own homes. Aside from the stunning aesthetic attributes that Green Oak can offer, it can also present a great option for those looking to responsibly source materials for their building projects.”
The concept is simple. When used instead of traditional moisture-retaining materials, such as concrete and plaster, the impact on build time, finances and eventually energy-efficiency are incomparable. Green Oak, and timber more widely, has a physical quality not available in man-made materials. It provides sound insulation, keeps interiors at a constant temperature and in the build process, requires much less water and generates minimum construction waste, making much less of an impact on the local environment.
Green oak is extremely durable and therefore provides a long-lasting structure. As the oak and frame ages, it develops a striking silver patina and grows old gracefully. This negates the need to replace any of the building components over time – something you might expect to do with bricks and mortar or stone construction methods for instance.
According to the UK Timber Frame Association, timber frame has the lowest embodied CO2 of any commercially available building material, while delivering up to a 33% reduction in energy consumption for large detached houses. Meanwhile Green Oak, collected from sustainable sources, is deemed carbon neutral. As the oak grows, it absorbs the CO2, and when used as a building material it traps the carbon, rather than releasing it back into the environment.
As it is recommended to let Green Oak weather naturally, very little maintenance is needed. Some prefer the organic hue of the timber as it ages over time and take pride in the heritage appeal of distressed oak. A further appeal of Green Oak is in the manufacturing process. Once the oak has received rigorous quality checks, all that is left is a simple run through the planer and further sanding/finishing if required. Unlike other timbers, which are kiln-dried or pressure-treated with chemicals, green oak and its processes are entirely natural.
The beauty of a natural building material means nothing is considered as ‘waste’. In the factory, offcuts can be manufactured into fundamental elements of the oak frame, such as braces or pegs used in the jointing process. Meanwhile, sawdust can be sent locally to farms to be used as cattle bedding. With smaller offcuts, these can be seasoned and used as an energy source for wood burners, providing a complete environmentally-friendly solution.
English Heritage Buildings offers a wide selection of green oak products including extensions, garages and bespoke commercial buildings. Pricings depend on the bespoke design the team creates with you to match your existing home and preferences, but typically the supply of a garden room frame ranges from £20,000 to £40,000.