Good practice

Material choices in eco-design

Material choices in eco-design
© dcw25, #89700519, 2018, source:
Timber and woodworking
Premises and operation areas:
Product and design
Size of company:
Large (more than 250)
Advancement in applying resource efficiency measures:

A better 'grada' of plywood for eco-design

  • An ecological thermos-formable plywood material is made for ecological designs
  • Benefits of the material include a faster manufacturing process and opportunities for new kinds of designs

UPM Plywood is the leading plywood supplier in Europe, with production facilities in Finland, Estonia and Russia. Their thermo-formable wood material, UPM Grada, is an example of an ideal material choice for a designer that seeks to follow the principles of eco-design.

UPM Grada is made of Finnish birch and its raw materials are 100 % from controlled, non-controversial sources and 66 % PEFC and FSC certified materials. Thermo-formable means the material can be formed with heat and pressure. The technology for forming the material cuts manufacturing time by half compared to the traditional form-pressing method. Based on this performance, for example, the Finnish furniture manufacturer Isku converted all its form-press production to UPM Grada in 2014.

Grada is also ideal for developing new eco-designs because of its versatility; large components can be partially bent and pre-machined. The material can even be reformed and its components can be reused as raw materials for new products.

Wood material also acts as natural carbon storage. Using one cubic metre of Grada material is equivalent of storing 1020 kg of CO2 if the lifetime of the product is assumed to be 100 years. At the end of its lifetime, the product can be safely recycled or burned to produce energy, replacing fossil fuels.

Key benefits

  • Faster and simpler form-pressing process, since the ready-made panel means fewer steps and possibilities for automation
  • Uniform quality leading to a higher yield of first-grade components, less waste and increased productivity
  • The material follows the best sustainability practices - manufactured from FSC or PEFC certified wood which can be safely recycled or burned
  • UPM Grada panels contain no added formaldehyde

Want to know if relevant support is offered in your country?