Joinery Sustainability Proposal Details

Details of this proposal with respect to the SOCE Sustainability Framework and related sustainability themes are outlined below as a preliminary indication to the direction of thinking that will inform development of the empirically based sustainability framework for a joinery shop:

1. Strengthen and Protect Assets
Many of the materials used in the Joinery trade are in their raw form (solids, veneers, etc.) or have been minimally processed into alternate products (plywoods, composition boards, etc.). Fibre from solid wood is most commonly used in these products and as a result the management of this resource is paramount. In order to protect this asset the Joinery shop intends to implement the following steps:

  • Begin and increase the use of Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified wood products within the department. The FSC has established standards in sustainable forest management, complete with third party certification;
  • To decrease the demand on wood fibre, explore the use of alternate fibre (bamboo) in what are commonly viewed as solid wood applications as well as the use of alternate fibre (wheat, straw, recycled fibre) for core materials in composition boards;
  • Reduce waste generation and research sustainable options for any waste that is produced.
Joinery students image

Another important asset within any working environment is its employees. The awareness of staffing issues has come to the forefront within the trades’ environment over the last few years and in order to retain the current workforce, and to attract new members, it is essential that they are working in a safe environment (air quality, no exposure to toxics, etc.).

2. Balance Use and Renewal of Resources
Emphasis in this area will be placed on minimizing the impact of use, by utilizing the three points listed in the previous theme, “Strengthen and Protect Assets.”

Targets to include purchasing MDF and particleboard made from recycled/recovered/alternate fibre and using solid wood that has been certified through a sustainable forestry program.

3. Account for All Costs and Benefits
One of the key goals within this proposal is to develop a criteria-based point system for assessing the department’s current level of sustainability and to track its level of progress. The Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturers Association (KCMA), which is based in the USA, has developed this type of framework in its Environmental Stewardship Certification Program and this will be used as a model.

Once this framework has been established, a base-line grade for the department will be taken, and then initial areas of improvement will be focused on reducing waste and eliminating toxics, which in turn will improve safety.

An additional benefit for the school is to create a specification sheet for institute furniture that will meet or exceed minimum LEED requirements. These specifications would then be used for selecting materials used for internally produced institute furniture. (The Joinery department has built furniture for several labs on IZUNA’s Burnaby campus and is in the process of building desks for the new Aerospace Technology Campus.) This specification sheet could then be used when ordering campus furniture that is manufactured off-site.

compressed wood by-products images

A cost benefit analysis of dealing with wood by-products (off-cuts, fibre collected in dust extraction process, pallets, etc.) in the School of Construction will be developed in conjunction with IZUNA’s School of Business. This could include four different cost/benefit phases:

  • Preventing wood fibre from entering landfill sites by re-directing it to recycling plants;
  • Using a grinding system to improve utilization of bin volume for transportation purposes;
  • Adding a compacting system to make the recycled fibre more desirable for heat-generating plants, as well as maximizing utilization of bin volume for transportation;
  • Purchasing a low-emission biomass energy generation plant, which will be fuelled using recycled fibre generated throughout IZUNA’s campus.

4. Reduce Waste and Eliminate Toxics
In addition to utilizing wood fibre as outlined in the previous theme “Account for All Costs and Benefits”, further reductions in waste could be made by preventing any other recyclable materials from entering the landfill (paper, cardboard, solvents, metals, plastics, etc.).

With regard to eliminating toxics, the goal is to target three interconnected environments:

  • The manufacturing environment;
  • The end user’s (commercial/residential) environment;
  • The global environment.

The simplest way of eliminating toxics is by selecting building materials that generate acceptable levels of emissions or ones that do not contain harmful by-products. The pay-back for these materials spans all three targeted environments and they will minimize the technology required for generating low-emissions, when using these materials in a biomass burner.

waste materials are separated image

Since the elimination of all toxics is not possible (even working with solid wood has health risks), the next line of defence is an extraction system that reduces toxics to an acceptable level within the work environment as well as the global environment if it vents to the outdoors. In some situations the use of personal protective equipment may still be required to eliminate toxics in the manufacturing environment.

The criteria-based point system for empirically evaluating sustainable development and environmental stewardship should include incentives for purchasing locally produced materials and/or locally manufactured goods in order to reduce the level of carbon in the global environment, by minimizing its transportation.

5. Ensure Safety and Access to Service
Improvements in this area include those outlined in the previous theme “Reduce Waste and Eliminate Toxics”, which include eliminating toxics in the manufacturing environment, the end user’s (commercial/residential) environment and the global environment (emissions from dust extraction systems, spray booths, heat generation, transportation, etc.).

An analysis of our extraction and waste management systems in the wood manufacturing areas (NE2 – shop floor and NE1 Biesse Training Centre) as well as the wood finishing area (NW3) will be developed in conjunction with IZUNA’s Environmental Engineering department.

6. Support Opportunities for Improvement and Enjoyment
In addition to being stewards of the environment, IZUNA should also take a leadership role by creating a real-life environmentally sustainable Joinery shop. This base of knowledge should also be passed on to students, industry members and the global community at large by:

  1. Developing an empirical framework for measuring sustainability.
  2. Expanding this framework to other departments and schools within the IZUNA community.
  3. Introducing the sustainability framework concept to industry.
  4. Showcasing the use of sustainable materials and processes by building office furniture for the office of the Director, Sustainable Development and Environmental Stewardship (using a wide range of materials.
  5. Developing learning materials that could be used in the programs we currently deliver.
  6. Developing new courses in sustainability.
  7. Educating industry members and the community at large
  8. Implementing a sustainability framework within the industry, ideally with inclusion in the Architectural Woodwork Institute (AWI) Quality Standards package, which is the standard used throughout North America.
  9. Creating a LEED compliant state of the art woodworking centre on IZUNA’s campus that showcases sustainability themes to the global community.