Green Building Concept – Building a Wine Cellar Using Green Building Materials
The use of environmentally sustainable products in various business sectors has been highly encouraged by the environmental movement for many years. Eco-friendly products are materials that do not pose a threat to the environment in terms of their production, utilization, and disposal. They also pertain to products that are made from recycled materials.
Using green building materials when building a wine cellar (or any structure, for that matter) helps minimize the need to produce new raw materials, and consequently reduces the amount of waste products thrown in landfills, or burned in incinerators. In addition, creating new products out of recycled materials can significantly decrease the amount of waste that otherwise negatively impacts the environment.
As more people clamor for environmentally sustainable products, many companies from different business sectors have responded to their demand. For instance, the wine cellar industry has been promoting the use of green building materials in the design and construction of custom wine rooms.
Applying a green building concept to a wine cellar design not only creates a one of a kind appearance, but also helps sustain the environment.
The two primary sources of recycled wood materials are antique nautical timbers, and retired wine barrels. Nautical timbers are often used as flooring materials.
These reclaimed wood products come from the ballast and cribbage found in the hulls of ships that navigated the world during the 1940s up to the early 1970s. Back then, the ballast and cribbage were used in sea vessels to provide stability.
However, improvements and modifications in ship ballast systems rendered these heavy timbers obsolete. Rather than discarding them in landfills, antique nautical timbers are reprocessed into new wood products that can be used as flooring materials in custom wine cellars.
Reclaimed nautical hardwood flooring products come from over 70 different wood varieties, originating from Africa, Asia and South America. Antique nautical timbers are carefully re-sawn, to maintain a natural patina and character.
To provide additional strength and structural integrity to the reclaimed product, a plywood backing made from Baltic Birch is attached to the re-sawn timber.
Considering that they are made from age old forest trees, antique nautical timbers possess excellent strength and an enduring quality. Part of this wood material’s appeal comes from its worn out look, and the various marks and dents on its surface, permanently etched there by time.
Another popular green building concept that is being integrated into most custom wine cellars design is wood components from reclaimed wine barrels.
A typical wine barrel is used for about three to four years before being discarded in a landfill or sold as firewood. Retired wine barrels are given another purpose in life through the recycling of old barrel components into new materials that can be used as countertops, wine racking, and flooring products.
The three primary parts of a wine barrel that are dismantled and reprocessed are the cooperage, wine infusion and stave. Cooperage is the outside part of a barrel end that attractively displays winery logos and other cooper markings. Infusion is the wine stained interior of the barrel. The natural discoloration of this barrel component comes from the staining of the wine during the aging process.
The stave barrel component is the side part of the barrel that beautifully features hoop markings, from the metal bands that wrapped and held the stave planks in place. Adding design elements made from retired wine barrels create an unparalleled look in residential or commercial custom wine cellars, considering that no two reclaimed wine barrel components are alike.
Barrel head carving is another green building concept that comes from recycling authentic wine barrels. This wood product consists of quarter-sawn barrel end, along with four to five inches of surrounding hoops.
To ensure the dimensional integrity of the tenth barrelhead piece, polyurethane glue is injected into the joints, to prevent cracks from opening up, and the hoops from coming apart. The piece is also attached to plywood backing, for added structural support.
There are different designs that can be carved into reclaimed barrel heads, such as winery logos, coats of arms, and even landscapes. Wine barrel head carvings can be mounted on wine cellar walls as a decorative element, or hung outside an establishment as a signage.
When building a wine cellar, designers and installers should not only focus on creating a storage environment that will help preserve wines, but also on utilizing green building materials that will help sustain the environment in general. The use of reclaimed wood components in designing and building a wine cellar is an eco-friendly, yet creative approach, that will help promote the importance of reducing waste and conserving resources by reducing, recycling, and reusing waste materials.