PROPERTY & CONSTRUCTION
Low-carbon veneers and panels can replace plastics, metals, and hardwood used in building and car interiors
Spotted: As the world moves towards net zero, there is a growing need for sustainable composites and materials to replace the use of carbon-intensive old-growth woods, metals, and concrete in the built environment. While the use of natural composites is not new, composite materials pioneer Lingrove has now developed a novel, high-performance composite called Ekoa made from carbon-negative plant fibres.
Ekoa eco-veneers are made from fast-growing, sustainable plants – such as flax – and natural resins. They can be used to replace wood, laminates, and plastics in most interior construction applications, including wall coverings, cabinetry, furniture, and even automotive interiors. The materials are available in a wide range of colours.
The product began as a challenge at instrument maker Blackbird Guitars to create a guitar with the performance of carbon fibre and the sound of old wood, without cutting a single tree or using any toxic materials. Ekoa was first brought to market in guitar bodies and launched more broadly after Blackbird received numerous inquiries about the material and spun out Lingrove to create ultra-sustainable products.
Recently, Lingrove closed a $10 million (around €9.1 million) oversubscribed funding round. The money will be used to scale manufacturing at the San Rafael, California plant and grow distribution chains. The company also told us they have an ambitious roadmap to introduce a flooring product and carbon-neutral panels.
Written By: Lisa Magloff
Lingrove’s mission has grown from low-carbon guitar bodies to decarbonising the built world — while enabling a healthier natural environment. Products like this are also vital to achieving net zero, as the built environment currently generates around 40 per cent of global CO2 emissions, with building materials (concrete, steel, and aluminium) and construction responsible for more than 10 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, forests, and the hardwoods they contain, are being rapidly depleted. So, creating materials from natural sources that quickly regenerate, as Lingrove has done, is crucial to enable construction that’s sustainable long term.