We are talking here about products that are genuinely environmentally friendly and a company for which the environment and sustainability were key words long before there were any statutory requirements or customer demand in this respect.
Apart from all the fine words about the environment and lovely commercials showing forests and lakes, there are only a few points where more or less environmentally friendly windows and exterior doors differ. Below is an outline of these differences based on Ekstrands’ standard exterior doors and Ekstrands’ EnergyConcept 90 Wood windows, two products that are market leaders.
Impregnation and painting have the highest environmental impact during the manufacture of exterior doors and windows. The majority of windows and doors made in Sweden are still impregnated and painted with products that contain environmental toxins and solvents (information correct as of 25 January 2020). It is possible to obtain leading ecolabels for a product even when this sort of wood protection has been used. The reason is that these products are fast-drying and are the easiest to use in industrial processes. Ekstrands uses only water-based paint, which is more environmentally friendly. Our impregnation products are also water-based and contain linseed oil. We introduced these systems more than 30 years ago, mainly for health and safety reasons.
The paint system that Ekstrands uses has also been shown to be superior in independent tests: Larco test report no. P801026 of 22 January 2009 as per EN927-2 and EN927-3, Larco test report no. 32/07/9079/01 of 12 January 2009 as per EN599-1/class 3a, Larco test report no. 290/75903/51 of 13 September 1988 as per prEN927-3, Larco test report no. 320-42409/50 of 29 September 1995 as per prEN927-3, and the research projects AIR3CT94-2463 and CTBA/FINEURO.
All water drainage and surplus paint from the paint department is collected and put through a separator. The water is purified and recycled. Surplus pigment is separated and sent for incineration.
One of the most important warranties for doors and windows is the warranty on the finish. Effective wood protection ensures that the paint does not crack and there is no risk of rot. And if the products last longer, this is also good for the environment. Many manufacturers offer warranties, but then backtrack in the care instructions by saying that customers must repair any cracks during the warranty period. This is not our style. Ekstrands is alone in providing a warranty of up to 10 years against cracks forming in the paint and we make no such reservations.
The majority of windows installed in new buildings have exterior aluminum cladding (information correct as of 25 January 2020). Aluminium is not renewable and is energy-intensive to produce. The recycling of powder-coated aluminum requires flue gas purification. Leading environmental certification bodies accept both aluminum and plastic and set no requirements for exterior cladding to contain a certain proportion of recycled material. It is, therefore, safe to assume that no recycled aluminum or plastic are used in the majority of these windows in Sweden.
Our Energy Concept 90 Wood windows are available with no aluminium or plastic components. This is a unique window, made entirely of wood, in which all parts are renewable or recyclable apart from the sealing strips, which are made of silicon and plastic and go to landfill. Many of Ekstrands’ other window systems also have this advantage.
Ekstrands has a wide range of genuine wooden windows with long warranties on the finish and leading thermal insulation properties. These products are the most sustainable choice you can make. At the same time, we know that each customer has unique requirements, and design, wall construction, choice of materials and price play a role when choosing a product. Ekstrands also offer aluminum cladding on most window systems as a part of the market demands this.
All exterior doors in Sweden incorporate sheet metal, which is glued in to ensure structural stability. This has been the case since the early 80s and no better manufacturing method has yet been found (information correct as of 25 January 2020). It is difficult to separate the sheet metal from the wood and insulation, which means that external doors that are no longer needed are sent to landfill. Ekstrands’ solution to this problem is to make exterior doors that last for a long time. Ekstrands provides unique, long-term warranties for the paint and structural stability, which guarantees long-term sustainability. Ekstrands does not mass-produce anything. Everything is made to order.
The majority of exterior doors sold in Sweden contain formaldehyde (information correct as of 25 January 2020). Leading environmental certification bodies permit formaldehyde and other similar chemicals in products with environmental certification. Ekstrands’ exterior doors are entirely free from formaldehyde. They are also tested to EN14351-1 and guaranteed free from all toxic emissions. EnergyConcept90 Wood contains no other components.
If you choose products with a low u-value, you save energy. It is also important that the door or window frame is tightly sealed if it is to deliver what it promises. In addition to leading thermal insulation properties, Ekstrands has also tested the airtightness of its double doors and windows. Whichever product you choose from Ekstrands, you can be sure that the product delivers what it promises.
The majority of energy-efficient windows marketed in Sweden have a u-value of around 0.9-1.2 (information correct as of 25 January 2020). Often you need to order a special option to get below 1.0. Energy Concept 90 Wood from Ekstrands has a standard u-value of 0.77.
The majority of exterior doors marketed in Sweden have a u-value of 0.9-1.0. A few manufacturers offer values down to 0.76. Ekstrands has a standard u-value of 0.73. Our Passiv91 construction has a u-value of 0.53. This is thermal insulation in a class of its own.
We use FSC-certified wood and we have products registered with SundaHus and Byggvarudeklarationen. We have however deliberately chosen not to certify our products according to the Nordic region's leading eco-label of doors and windows as we believe that the requirements are set too low. They allow, among other things, solvents and toxic emissions. We believe that the environment is being compromised so that everyone can participate.
Ekstrands works to actively minimize its impact on the climate and the environment. The environment and sustainability have long been a factor in our internal quality and development work. Since 2005, Ekstrands has been separating metal, paper, hazardous waste, plastic, etc. at source. Since 2013, we have been pressing/packing all residual materials in bales to minimize transport volumes.
Our production plant in Osby is heated using an internal cycle in which packaging and wood waste from production is collected and used as biofuel, which is then used to heat our properties.
Between 2018 and 2020, Ekstrands invested SEK 4 million in the biggest solar power plant in northern Skåne. The aim is to be entirely self-sufficient using renewable energy.
Ekstrands is a family-owned company that is firmly established in Skåne. We are not subject to strict profitability requirements and we can, therefore, think and act in the long term. This applies to our staff policy, our local social responsibilities and our environmental work. However, it applies above all to our approach to our customers and our products. Customer benefit is and will always be what drives our organization. We have proved that it is possible to combine quality and high performance, while also taking responsibility for our environment. Our products reflect the Ekstrand family’s own values and we are proud to put our name to them.