Darren Hook of English Heritage Buildings looks at why green oak is not only an attractive material with strong heritage, it is also a great option if you’re looking to up your eco credentials
When considering building an eco home or incorporating eco additions to your current property, there is often a key decision to be made. When looking to create a home that will reap the cost and rewards in savings down the line, there is often a compromise to be made between stylish design or solar panels. However, there is a middle ground option within the actual building material itself, and it has been around for thousands of years. That material is green oak.
Green oak is the heart and soul of British building and architecture, and has featured in many forms within our homes for centuries. Many oak-framed buildings in the UK date back to the 15th century, proving that oak is an integral, long-lasting material and therefore making it a great long-term investment for your home. What isn’t commonly known is that it is also one of the most sustainable building materials available, making its inclusion in construction a great long-term investment for your home. Not only can oak be incredibly attractive, with its warm tone and welcoming knots and lines, it also improves the regulation of heat within your home.
Companies supplying green oak often use the same ancient building techniques that built England’s century-old sea-faring ships. Oak-framed buildings are enjoying a revival across the country thanks to the material’s innate sustainability.
Timber is the only truly renewable building resource available. We are helping to ensure this remains the case; both via the material itself and with our sustainable construction process. We select trees from managed forests, where three new oaks are planted for every one that is felled. We also ensure that our timber is treated in an eco-friendly manner, without the use of harmful chemicals.
Many homeowners are now looking to add home extensions such as granny annexes, porches and garden buildings with the aim to increase liveability and the value of the property. This is where green oak stands out against other man-made materials as it has an added elegance and flexibility in its use.
Contemporary constructors have a lot to gain from an oak-framed extension. Properties constructed with green oak are beneficial to modern homeowners for a number of reasons. Not only does it harden with age, offering a unique strengthening component, it also has insulation properties. As an alternative to glass, metal and brick structures, green oak has the aesthetically pleasing yet practical components to extend or create a home.
There are many reasons you might want to incorporate green oak within a project, whether that be to add a charming new room or simply to modify a garden to one that can be enjoyed all year round. Self-builders look to utilise the most practical and quality-assured materials to add both longevity and aesthetics to their homes.
The durability of green oak is one of its most undervalued and appealing features. Oak-framed buildings are designed to last generations due to the fact that oak actually hardens with age and exposure to water. One of the best characteristics of green oak is that it strengthens as it dries, twisting across its width, and adding a unique charm to your property.
Many people are not aware of the ecological properties that are associated with using green oak in construction. Due to the material’s natural insulation properties, a typical conservatory or garden room can maintain a constant comfortable temperature, whatever the weather. This saves money on energy bills as well as reducing the emissions of the property in question.
With the unsure economy in post-Brexit Britain and issues raised by stamp duty, many people are looking to improve rather than move. Given the current market stagnation and long-term investment considerations, it is important when adding extensions to a building that the materials being used are of the highest quality so it adds value to maximise on the return.
Darren Hook is managing director of English Heritage Buildings