The pressure on us all to reduce carbon emissions in the built environment and to think in terms of long-term sustainability is constantly increasing.

While some are still debating sustainable design strategies, and how to best specify materials that reduce carbon emissions, BASE Interiors has chosen action.  Their Cheil Basement workplace design scheme uses reclaimed FSC® certified Jarrah and Opepe in a process that prevents further deforestation, saves energy and mineral resources, and protects architectural history.

Currently, only 1% of the 100m tonnes of new construction materials used annually in the UK is reclaimed.  A figure the FCRBE initiative (Facilitating the Circulation of Reclaimed Building Elements) is hoping to change through a three-year project part funded by the European Regional Development Fund; it aims to increase reuse in construction across north west Europe by 50% by enabling a circular economy approach.

In the construction industry, the circular economy encourages the whole supply chain to choose materials that can achieve a longer lifecycle. That means everyone, from the client and the architect to product manufacturers, engineers and contractors, are all responsible for making better choices to create a ‘circular’ building.  [You can read more about the circular economy and construction here on our recent blog]

In the Cheil Basement design scheme BASE Interiors specified tropical Jarrah and Opepe timber cladding, reclaimed and repurposed from Boscombe pier, Nr. Bournemouth.

The 600-foot Boscombe Pier was built in 1888.  During colonial times, topical hardwoods such as Jarrah (Australia), Opepe (West Africa) and Greenheart (South America) were imported into the UK for use primarily in marine construction and sea defences.

Currently, the built environment model is linear, designed around the production of new materials which are thrown away once they’re no longer required.  However, as in the case of Boscombe Pier, it is possible to take a circular approach.  To reclaim timbers and repurpose as part of a larger refurbishment or renovation project.  Saving timber from landfill and saving tonnes of CO2e annually.

Discover more in our CPD guide – ‘How to Include Reclaimed Tropical Timber in Sustainable Design’ – download here.


About Ashwells Reclaimed Timber

Ashwells Reclaimed Timber is a tropical reclamation specialist based in Bulphan, Essex.   We reclaim and repurpose FSC certified tropical timber and temperate British hardwoods.  From our timber mill we supply hard and softwoods to be re-purposed into bespoke pieces, from garden planters and seating to street furniture and sea defences.  We’re also proud to collaborate with award winning landscape designers, architects and civil engineers, and our reclaimed tropical timber can be seen in major projects across the UK, including hotel and restaurant chains, the Chelsea Flower Show, Hampton Court, The Eden Project and London Zoo.