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Innovating decarbonisation in wood protection technologies

The construction sector is one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, with around 37% of global emissions[1]. As the only truly renewable construction material, timber is being increasingly specified to help meet net zero commitments. However, some timber species provide very little natural durability and to be used commercially they require additional protection in the form of an industrially applied wood preservative.

Wood preservatives are often overlooked as contributing to decarbonisation of construction projects, but Arxada’s Wood Protection division in Europe is working to change this perspective through driving modern chemistry to help the many sectors that utilise timber, advance their sustainability goals.

Tanalith® MF, a metal-free high-pressure wood preservative is one such wood protection technology from Arxada that has been developed to work towards a more sustainable built environment. With the waste stream from construction being of particular concern, Tanalith® MF champions circular economy principles. Timber treated with Tanalith® MF can be reused or recycled at end of life. To further help reduce waste and fuel emissions in transportation, the wood preservative is supplied to timber treaters as a concentrate in recycled Intermediate Bulk Containers (IBCs), which can be reused. The timber treater dilutes the Tanalith® MF concentrate with water on-site, which eradicates the need of bulk tanker transportation.

In parallel to advancing sustainable procurement in wood preservation, Tanalith® MF accommodates for evolving design trends. For cladding and decorative landscaping timbers, vibrant built-in colour can be achieved through the addition of a colour additive in the high-pressure process. This built-in colour negates the need for a brush-on colour at point of installation and means that timber treated with Tanalith® MF remains VOC-free.

Andrew Hodge, Marketing Director for Arxada Wood Protection says of the evolving wood protection technologies:

“There are a number of reasons why architects and specifiers are embracing a timber-first approach. The importance of EPDs help promote sustainability through design, and correctly specified timber helps reduce embodied carbon over the lifetime of a build. Often this will mean that the correct type of wood preservation needs to be procured, which we are working hard to educate the wider market on. From the manufacture of the wood preservative, through to how it is delivered to customers and how it contributes to the waste at end of life, all needs to be considered before specification.

“And it’s not just architects who are sold on the benefits of sustainable building materials such as timber; according to a 2022 PayPal survey[2], some 56% of Europeans consider themselves to be ‘Conscious Consumers’ and 67% have bought products that were better for the environment despite being more expensive.

Being part of a global, science-based leader in specialty chemicals, means that we have in-house expertise to passionately drive more sustainable wood preservation through utilising modern chemistry. Tanalith® MF is one such example of this, as is Tanasote®, our modern alternative to creosote. Both are BPR authorised across Europe.”

Arxada Wood Protection Europe will be at Carrefour International Du Bois, Parc De La Beaujoire, Nantes, France from 29th – 30th May 2024. Visit stand number J11 in Hall XXL. Alternatively, visit for more information.

[1] UN Environment Programme – Building Materials And The Climate: Constructing A New Future, September 2023. See Building Materials And The Climate: Constructing A New Future | UNEP – UN Environment Programme

[2] PayPal Conscious Consumers, July 2022. See Retail Trends and Conscious Consumers | PayPal UK