On the outside, this black wooden single-storey villa looks similar to many others in Grenaa. As you walk to the front door, you will see a wooden plaque bearing the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) and DGNB (German Sustainable Building Council) logos, along with its name - Villa Grenaa.
This is the world’s first villa to receive a PEFC certificate for using 84.8 per cent PEFC certified wood from responsibly managed forests. The remaining wood is either FSCTM (Forest Stewardship CouncilTM) certified or source controlled. On top of that, Villa Grenaa is in the process of becoming the first in Denmark to receive a DGNB certificate. The DGNB (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Nachhaltiges Bauen) certification is a German environmental label for sustainable and green architecture.
This 135 square metre house is owned by the couple – Dennis and Louise Friis Thaagaard. It started in 2012 when the couple bought a plot of land in this Danish town on the east coast of the Jutlandic peninsula. However, the dream to build a sustainable home only began to materialise two years ago when they finally have a plan in place.
Dennis brought in an architect to design the house and at the same time, he searched for a contractor to take on this project. He found Jakobsen huse Aps – a contractor who echoes a similar sustainable vision as the couple.
The construction of a PEFC-certified home is not without challenges. According to Dennis, it was difficult to find the materials and when they finally found them, the materials were expensive. “It was also tough to ascertain the materials are PEFC certified.”
Fortunately, the hiring of Jakobsen huse Aps as the main contractor gave the Friis Thaagaard family peace of mind as Jakobsen huse managed all aspects of the construction process, including responsible material sourcing.
Eco-friendly features in Villa Grenaa for healthy living
Aside from sustainable building materials, Villa Grenaa boasts a host of green and healthy living features including Climawintech, an intelligent valve system that improves the energy efficiency of the house and a Hydraloop water recycling system.
The Climawintech system provides an ideal indoor climate and saves energy at the same time. The system allows air passes through the vent at the base of the window frame and it enters the home through the top sill. The valve on the top sill closes when there’s no direct sunlight. There is airflow is continuous as it enters the room through a bypass valve on the top sill.
The house has a well thought-out sustainable water plan as it uses Hydraloop water recycling system. Water from the shower, bath and washing machine is recycled and reused for toilet flushing and the garden.
Villa Grenaa also uses Fermacell Gypsum fibreboard for its wall applications that will contribute to a comfortable indoor climate as this building board is made of gypsum and paper fibres and does not contain other binders, thus conducive to occupants’ health and well-being. Since the boards do not release the hazardous chemical into the air, it reduces occupants’ exposure to environmental allergens that may exacerbate asthma and allergies.
NEPCon as the certification body
According to Kent Skovgaard, NEPCon Director of Traceability for Europe and Russia, the building industry in Denmark is showing a lot of interest to move in direction of a more sustainable way of constructing and sourcing materials. ”I expect that project certifications under both PEFC and FSC systems has great potential. The materials are out there ready to be used.”
“I am proud that NEPCon was chosen to deliver this certificate, and it has been a very interesting project to follow right to the end with the world’s first family home granted a PEFC certificate issued,” he adds.
NEPCon offers certification, verification and assurance services in forestry, agriculture, responsible sourcing, biomass, carbon footprinting, and tourism in over 100 countries. Learn more here.
Featured image by Villa Grenaa DGNB Facebook