Ethical & Sustainable
Our favorite thing to build: a sustainable future.
The Nakamoto Family has sustainably planted and harvested the forest around their home village of Yoshiwa-mura in Hiroshima, Japan, for over 100 years. As the threat of climate change has become more apparent, we have continued to focus on ethical forestry practices while lowering our carbon footprint, promoting yakisugi as a carbon sink alternative to engineered materials, and increasing our siding’s life cycle performance with proper installation and millwork education for our customers.
We promote yakisugi, in addition to all natural wood construction materials, as sustainable alternatives to inorganic, carbon-intensive engineered products, but we don’t stop there. We have worked tirelessly to develop an even more ethical timber production and millwork protocol. In recent years we have stopped clear cutting, focusing instead on the production of mature growth and large-diameter logs. If we continue to responsibly manage our forests we will soon reach a felling age of 100 years, thus improving the quality of our products while increasing their monetary value.
Investing in sustainable timber and millwork production reflects our organizational policy. We do not pursue logos and certifications in lieu of intentional consumer education. However, in 2004 we pledged to meet PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification, PEFC/01-44-01) certification to symbolize our responsibility as members of society and as a matter of pride in our achievements as a manufacturer. Our work on your project begins decades before we receive your request for samples or a quote — it begins with planting, and it continues with tending, logging, milling, grading, packaging and delivery directly to your door. Every step of the way we make decisions based on the health of our customers and the planet. Our direct control of the entire process, from our forests to your walls, gives us the unique authority to make positive change and we are committed to doing so.
The Technical Background
Though hinoki cypress, pine, larch, oak, and other species are abundant in Japan, yakisugi is only made from sugi cypress. Cypress is straight-grained, fast-drying, flexible, tannin-rich, and strong—all desirable characteristics for siding. It has a thick, dense latewood growth ring, which burns to a more substantial, longer-lasting soot layer.
By weight wood is mostly structural lignin, with the balance hemi-cellulose carbohydrates that are food for fungi and insects. Heat treatment of yakisugi burns off the cellulose, minimizing rot and infestation. The hydrophobic soot layer and hardened surface slow down weathering, making it maintenance-optional.
Instead of kiln drying wet boards for several days at low heat as is standard for wood siding, we have a much more energy efficient process of slowly and completely air drying the planks and then flash burning to heat treat them. Additionally, our mills and overseas facilities are strategically placed near ports for minimal trucking.