July 14, 2023

Solar power for prize-winning British timber cladding

Exciting news. We’re now using solar panels and the sun’s energy to transform local British wood into our Brimstone timber cladding.

It’s our aim to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. And the installation of solar panels to power our timber cladding plant is an important step in the right direction. 

If you’re not already familiar with Brimstone, it’s our multi-award winning British-grown timber cladding. As well as delivering beautiful, durable timber, Brimstone’s wider mission is to help revitalise local woodlands. 

Solar panels (stock image)

Reporting and reducing greenhouse gas emissions

Reducing our emissions is something we take very seriously, as part of ‘Business Declares’. We’re not about ticking boxes here, we genuinely want to make a difference. So, we’re keeping tabs and monitoring our performance to check we’re making strides forward.

In 2019 we published an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) for our Brimstone range so that our customers understand the impacts associated with manufacturing, installing and eventually disposing of our products.

Earlier this year, Vastern Timber commissioned a carbon emissions report for all the operations at its sawmills, and published the results

After installing solar panels and investing in other energy saving measures, we’re hoping future assessments will show positive results.

Our MD, Tom, said: ‘We now have a baseline measurement of the carbon emissions from our sawmills. At the end of this year we will undertake our second carbon assessment. I hope that we’ll be able to see a measurable reduction in emissions thanks to the use of these solar panels”. 

Using local wood supports local woodlands

Reducing emissions is important to us, but it all feeds into our wider mission. To transform British woodland.

When we launched Brimstone in 2016, we wanted to solve a problem. We wanted to help fund local woodlands, improve woodland management, reduce timber imports and road miles – and help UK woodlands to thrive. 

Though it may seem counterintuitive, one of the best ways to protect local woodland is to use local wood. Using local wood helps to fund investment in local forests, it promotes better woodland management and encourages more tree-planting. 

Ash logs at Bathurst, a woodland just 15 miles from our Wiltshire sawmills.

If local wood has all these benefits, why aren’t we all using it?

Well, some British woods, like ash, poplar and sycamore fell out of fashion for furniture making some time ago, and are not naturally durable when used outdoors. And as timber cladding grew more popular, many people choose imported oak,  larch and cedar. 

So, we found a way to transform home-grown woods into something durable – and desirable.

Transforming timber with nothing but heat and steam

Using a clever process called thermal modification, we can transform locally grown wood species into a stable, long lasting cladding. 

The modification process changes the cell structure of the wood using intense heat, and has the added benefit of no nasty chemicals. The result is a durable, consistent material. One that weathers evenly, looks crisp and has a stylish finish that appeals to modern-day tastes. Win, win.

Thermally modified ash takes on a chocolate brown tone, and silvers evenly as it weathers.

Where do we get our wood?

It won’t surprise you to know that we’re pretty fussy about our wood. We use fast-grown British wood to create all of our Brimstone products. 

The timber is harvested responsibly from well-managed UK woodlands, mostly within 100 miles of our sawmills. In fact, a lot of the wood we use might otherwise become firewood or biomass. 

Once we’ve found the right wood, we use thermal modification to give it a whole new look. So essentially, we transform local ‘unwanted’ woods into products that not only look good but do good too.

Take a look at our Brimstone timber cladding to see the results for yourself. 

Brimstone poplar on an extension in Oxfordshire.


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