Gaseous carbon dioxide (CO2) is a natural component of the air we breathe and is of particular importance for plant growth. Despite the air containing only a small percentage of CO2 (0.04% according to the Max-Planck Institute), as a so-called greenhouse gas, it is suspected of contributing to warming the Earth’s climate. The political efforts of some countries, especially in Europe, are therefore currently increasingly moving towards reducing the amount of CO2 gas contained in the atmosphere. They aim to reduce this percentage primarily by reducing the burning of fossil fuels. A further measure involves the future classification of products on the basis of their carbon footprint (“energy-based footprint”). The objective is to label products that emit little carbon dioxide from production to the end of their life, thus promoting their acceptance. Wood is probably one of the most popular and most environmentally-friendly construction products.
Germany’s most important renewable raw material
As a natural material, wood is regarded as an important carbon storage system: According to the German Energy Agency (dena), around one tonne of carbon is extracted from the atmosphere per cubic metre of wood for the growth of a tree. And best of all, this amount of carbon also remains stored in the wood fibres even after the tree has been felled and further processed. “The longer a wood or paper product is used, the more positive its carbon footprint,” explains Dr. Christian Bockelmann, Assistant Environmental Officer at wallpaper manufacturer Erfurt & Sohn. It is therefore no wonder that wood is regarded as the most important renewable raw material in Germany.
Wood removes large amounts of CO2 from the atmosphere for many years, but it can also be dismantled with minimal energy, and recycled in an environmentally-friendly manner (Source: German Federal Environment Agency). A logical step towards storing as much carbon as possible is to prioritise wood products – wherever possible – and use them for as long as possible. This shift in people’s consciousness has resulted in a growing number of builders replacing inorganic materials, such as concrete or aluminium, with living wood.
Woodchip: helping to protect the environment
However, it is not just solid wooden objects, such as wooden tables, that have the ability to store carbon: paper, in its various manifestations, consists to a large extent of green wood, and thus also stores carbon. This also includes the classic Erfurt-Rauhfaser wallcovering. This natural wallcovering owes its unique individual texture to a high proportion of integrated wood fibres. “Put simply, we can say that our normal woodchip is made of 80% wood and fibres that were once a tree or a plant,” explains Stephan Schmieder, Paper Production Manager at Erfurt & Sohn. “These ingredients all have carbon stored in them.” For some ingredients, namely the wood fibres that give the wallcovering its texture, the carbon goes directly from the tree to the woodchip. The lengths of paper predominantly use cellulose fibres from recycling paper – a renewable and recycled raw material originally obtained from wood. “A large proportion of recycled material is used as the fibrous material for the woodchip – which makes our wallcovering extremely sustainable,” stresses Schmieder. It is reassuring to know that anyone who opts for the timeless look of Erfurt-Rauhfaser as their wallcovering, is also making an active contribution to protecting the environment.
Read more about the environmental impact of Erfurt-Rauhfaser wallcoverings in our blog article, which can be found via this link.