A Wood-Hybrid Product That Checks The Boxes
Over the years, we’ve worked with hundreds of manufacturers, most of which continue to focus on product innovation to meet the high demands of today’s architects. Specifiers alike are paying more attention to a product’s ingredients, how it’s made, and the factory’s operations.
Architects, designers, and LEED professionals bring a menu of expectations when selecting building materials. This includes:
- transparency of the materials used in manufacturing,
- the impact the products have on future occupants and the environment,
- strength, durability, and safety,
- and, of course, beauty.
One product line caught our eye recently – Geolam – mainly because of the company’s tag line Architectural Eco-Technology. How does this product line measure up with that list of expectations?
At first glance, this is a wood-product company with solutions for exterior trim, soffits, and decking. After taking a closer look, Geolam set out to create a long-lasting product made of recycled materials with the beauty of wood. We wanted to know how this differs from other manufactured-wood products?
Geolam representative Ron Factor began with an explanation of the patented manufacturing process. Factor explains “Geolam starts with a core of recycled aluminum. This keeps the product stable and light…three times lighter than other similar products.” He says the aluminum is covered with the outer layer of wood composite through a co-extrusion process. Co-extrusion means that the intermediate layer of copolymer resin inseparably merges that aluminum core with the outer wood-composite layer. “The layers are so firmly connected that this hybrid profile can be bent,” says Factor.
This YouTube video explains so much more, especially the incorporation of recycled materials.
The outer layer is a wood-plastic composite or WPC. The word plastic raised our eyebrows considering this is an eco-product. We learned that this represented an eco-friendly polypropylene plastic (PP) and the wood to plastic ratio is heavy on the wood at 8:1. In researching PP, we found that numerous life-cycle studies conclude that PP has considerable potential as a sustainable product.*
Now that we’re on the topic of materials, these stats from Geolam impressed us most.**
- Composed of 80% recycled materials.
- 100% recyclable at end-of-life.
- Compound is resistant to mold and mildew.
- Perfect for exterior and interior applications as it has no off-gassing.
- Harmless to human/animal health.
- Maintenance free, no need to paint or stain, and lasts for decades.
- Eco-Mark Certified.
This checks the boxes for specifiers. And, as more architects and LEED professionals make materials selection and manufacturing processes a priority, manufacturers will continue to innovate. This benefits us all.
If you know of other manufacturers who follow the same path of eco-friendly materials production, let us know. Send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
** www.geolaminc.com and Materials Data Sheet