9 27 2018 | Environmental safety | Fire protection

Why choose environmentally friendly fire retardant for wood materials

The demand for sustainable, cost-efficient building methods and materials is constantly increasing. Today eco friendly wood products are widely designed in building structures, in facades and in interior decoration. This means that the fire-retardant treatment of wooden construction materials should support the goal of creating healthy and safe living environments throughout the lifecycle of the products.

 

Wooden construction materials must fulfil strict fire safety regulations, which depend on the type of the building and wood product in question. Besides this ultimate requirement, designers of the building must also consider other aspects when choosing the optimal fire protection solution: durable and environmentally friendly treatment, total cost of the solution and visual values.

One of the key drivers to build wooden houses is to decrease the ecological footprint of construction. Another important motivation is related to health and safety: natural wood materials help to create healthy and pleasant interiors with good indoor air quality. In this respect, it makes no sense to use boric acid and other toxins for fire protection of the buildings. However, solutions based on toxic substances are still widely used in the market.

The architects and builders can nowadays choose between toxic and non-toxic fire retardants. Let’s look at the grounds for this decision.

CONSIDER CAREFULLY THE USE OF TOXIC FIRE RETARDANTS

Many toxic fire retardant products promise to be service-free and claim that the products do not leach or lose their efficiency. In addition to being harmful to people and the environment, the claims about the durability of these products are in many cases false and very dangerous.

The reason why some producers claim eternal longevity, is that their products can’t be used for on-site servicing due to the toxic properties; hence it is almost impossible to extend the longevity of the treatments.

ENVIRONMENTAL PERFORMANCE OF NEW GENERATION FIRE RETARDANTS

The new generation fire retardants developed by Nordtreat are water-based, pH-neutral and completely non-toxic. They do not contain boric acid, formaldehyde, halogens, carcinogenic or other toxic substances.
 

abb1ABB office building in Tallinn, Estonia with Nordtreat fire protection of wooden facade


Wood products treated with
non-toxic Nordtreat fire retardants have been developed and tested for more than 10 years. They fulfil not only the fire safety regulations according to fire classification B-s1,d0 – they also have M1 emission class and are BREEAM and LEED v4 compliant. In exterior use they have Weather Guard™ weather protection and toned colors which are also UV protected. To complement this excellent performance, Nordtreat treatment also enhances wood material's natural resistance against mould and fungi.

ENVIRONMENTAL VALUES AND COST-EFFICIENT FIRE PROTECTION

The cost of fire protection should be considered throughout the life-cycle of the wood product in question – and even beyond that. Leading building developers and construction companies demand certifications and high standards of sustainability from their suppliers, including the chemicals used in their buildings. The whole chain from manufacturing of the chemicals to the eventual disposal of the building materials should be evaluated.

Villa Riihi in Seinäjoki, Finland with Nordtreat fire protection of  interior wooden elements.


Industrial fire retardant treatment needs to mean a tested and standardized overall performance, as in the case of Nordtreat. When on-site application is the optimal choice, the safe and easy to use product saves costs and maintains a safe working environment.

All construction products in the EU should now conform to CE certification. If fire protection is not made by a certified treater or is done on construction site, no CE marking applies. This means more costs arising from approvals, checks and delays.
 

HOW TO STAY INFORMED ABOUT THE DEVELOPMENT OF FIRE RETARDANT TREATMENTS

An ideal way to keep up to date with the latest fire safety regulations and standards as well as their content is to subscribe Nordtreat’s monthly newsletter.

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