Human beings have been making things out of wood since the beginnings of civilization; it’s a renewable resource that can be fashioned into all sorts of shapes and sizes, and wood can be preserved for durability—or composted and returned to the nutrient cycle. But chemicals that make up most adhesives and lacquers (that are applied to wood) have turned otherwise biodegradable material into a toxic waste product at end of life that can negatively effect indoor air quality during use.
Using nature as a model, Switzerland-based Bauwerk wanted to create products that utilized wood’s inherent benefits, without the negatives. The company reconceived materials, process, and end-of-life considerations for their Silente line of flooring, which is now Cradle-to-Cradle Certified at the GOLD level. That standard means that raw materials and ingredients from up to 36 suppliers were assessed all the way back to their origins. These materials are then processed in a closed cycle to create beautiful, modern parquet flooring.
Since November 2015 the entire production of the Bauwerk facility in St. Margrethen, Switzerland is Cradle to Cradle Certified, which specifically guarantees: The use of healthy, non-hazardous materials; the subsequent use of all materials in a closed cycle; the validation of renewable energy; environmentally compatible water management; and social responsibility. EPEA Switzerland assisted Bauwerk with its implementation of the Cradle to Cradle vision and as general assessor for the Cradle to Cradle Certified certification.
Bauwerk has a long history of manufacturing top quality parquet with Swiss precision —they’ve been making flooring since 1935. The company has a dedication to both maintain that quality and utilize manufacturing solutions to ensure the current and future health of the planet. Towards that end, "One of our most important innovations is a completely glued parquet floor, which can be removed without damage. We take back the floor and grind the surface off. The lower material gets recycled,” says Klaus Brammertz, the CEO of Bauwerk Boen Group.
Once installed, Bauwerk’s parquet flooring keeps indoor air clean and healthy—it doesn’t release any Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). The EPA in the US has recognized that these compounds can cause allergic reactions, headaches, and other health effects —and those with asthma and respiratory issues will be especially affected. "Cradle to Cradle has so much to do with architecture and innovation, but also with health in the interior,” says Ansgar Igelbrink, President of Bauwerk.
We spend 80-90% of our lives indoors, in increasingly airtight building envelopes, which is great for energy efficiency, but doesn’t allow as much ventilation. So the 20 cubic meters of air we breathe per day matters, and ensuring it is free of toxic chemicals is part of Bauwerk’s mission.
By bonding the parquet, both impact and ambient sounds are also reduced, making Silente ideal for urban living environments. It’s also static-free, stays cool even on hot days, and holds warmth during cooler months.
End-of-life considerations are as important to Bauwerk as what goes into their flooring. This parquet is designed to last—but if need be, the floors can be dismantled and returned to the company—all components can then be reconditioned or recycled into new products, meaning the end of one cycle is the beginning of the next.