AALTO HAITEK TO PLANT TREE SAPLINGS IN COOP WITH 4H
AALTO HAITEK AND 4H TAIMITEKO PROGRAMME BEGIN COOPERATION!
The Taimiteko programme is about taking concrete action to compensate for carbon dioxide emissions. The goal is to plant 10,000 hectares of new forest in Finland by the year 2030. Taimiteko compensates the carbon dioxide emissions caused by the everyday activities of companies and individual people by increasing carbon sinks in Finland. The tree seedlings are planted by young people. In this article, 4H’s Roosa Hautala interviews Tiina Kapela about their cooperation
The interview was conducted in December 2019.
Roosa(R): Tell us about your company’s activities, history and vision.
Tiina (T): At Aalto Haitek Oy, we design and produce innovative, glue-free and additive-free massive wood products for the needs of the wood construction industry. Our company manufactures various durable wood components from Finnish pine for buildings and bridges of different sizes, among other things. Not only are our products good for health by reducing indoor air problems, but they are also environmentally friendly. The environment benefits from the construction industry actors having access to such a competitive construction method.
Our patented technologies date back to 1877 when Aleksi Kustaanpoika Honkala travelled to America to teach log construction. Just over a hundred years later, carpenter Tapani Honkala got an idea from the packaging of a building kit: wooden brick elements that would enable construction without adhesives. His nephew Janne Honkala, who had long worked with heritage buildings, founded the company on the basis of this innovation. Wave Layered Timber® is a strong single wood component that replaces traditional glulam. The technique employs a special drying process together with screw bars to create a strong combination.
Established in 2017, the company supports the principles of the circular economy, and these are clearly reflected in our modern vision. We strive to minimize the carbon footprint of our business and make our wood products environmentally friendly. Our first projects include Bed & Breakfast Pinewood Stables in Mäntsälä, the workspace at the historic Huopalahti station in Helsinki, a café and a wooden residential building, and the round, inspirational building of the Toholampi Outdoor Nursery Group.
R: What steps have you taken in your company to mitigate climate change?
T: We have strived for environmentally friendly products that would not burden nature even at the end of their lifespan. We have achieved these goals through nontoxicity and by not using glue. At no point in the process is anything added to the wood that does not belong there. As a result, the wood material can even be left to decompose naturally in the forest.
We use renewable pine as a material which absorbs carbon from the atmosphere and therefore contributes to slowing down climate change already during its life cycle. A wooden building continues to sequester carbon during its own lifecycle, and we use our modern technology to make this as long as possible. We can dismantle old structures and reuse this material elsewhere. In practice, for example, a bridge can be dismantled and moved to another location, or components that have already been used once can be made into another structure. We are constantly doing new research on this topic.
We also aim to utilize 100% of all the sawdust produced in our production as energy or insulation for example, so that our operations leave no waste at all. We have also agreed among the employees that all commutes should by public transport whenever possible and that no one should use a private car.
R: How does climate change affect a company in your industry in particular?
T: Companies are having to think more and more carefully about how their activities affect climate change and nature. We should be able to react very quickly to things because action is needed right now. By producing non-adhesive wood materials, we do not burden the environment and so contribute to corporate environmental responsibility on our part.
We are constantly developing our products so that the materials can be used as widely as possible in many different areas. In particular, fire resistance and soundproofing are features through which we can extend this usability.
R: What made you get involved in Taimiteko? Why did you choose us?
T: We talked about how our company would like to spend the Christmas gift money this year. As a timber industry company, it is natural for us to plant trees because we use wood as a material. So we would not only make use of wood, but we would also go back to the source and plant some new trees.
Another reason why we wanted to get involved specifically in Taimiteko is to employ young people. In previous years, we have employed young people from 4H, and even my own son goes to the 4H club, so the activities are familiar.
R: What part of your business activities are the carbon offsets designed to affect?
This year our Christmas money will go towards the carbon dioxide emissions from business travel. This sum will be used to plant 400 new trees in Finland. However, we strive for the smallest possible carbon footprint throughout our process.
R: What message would you like to send to other people/companies?
T: We hope that other forest and wood construction companies will also take responsibility for planting trees and for their carbon footprint. By taking action we can show that everyone is playing their part in slowing down climate change and being environmentally friendly.
We hope that as many people as possible will start planting trees and employing young people at the same time. In this digital world, it is more important than ever to go into the forest where we get pure and fresh air to breathe. We can do tree planting to counterbalance our work and make sure that it will be possible to visit forests also in the future.
Aalto Haitek Ltd. is a leading sustainable company that designs, develops and manufactures innovative, healthy, chemical- and glue-free massive timber products for wood building and the construction industry. Our patented technologies are rooted in Finnish know-how stretching back six generations. We are an active part of the growing bio and circular economy.