Much love and detail is in the elaborate designs of our finest carpenters. Mr. Idler produces original wines in very high quality, and the absence of herbicides and chemical pesticides was not to be compromised. Therefore, only a pure and original building material such as Thoma Holz100 came into question for his tasting room. If you are in the vicinity of Weinstadt-Strümpfelbach, stop for a drink of pure joie de vivre. www.weingut-idler.de
The Salzburg architect and landscape artist Matthias Würfel has expressed his deep-rooted appreciation of nature in "land-art" projects so far. Now he has developed an ecological living cube, which he builds with Thoma Holz100.
Following the motto "Nomen est Omen", Matthias Würfel developed a "living cube" with a holistic approach. The construction method should be healthy, ecological, valuable, compact and flexible. The architect referred to the geometric rules of the cube to combine energetic advantages with a playful freedom of design. The client can individually adapt the individual modules in different design grids to his needs.
"The building enables living in the material cycle of nature and is sustainable on all levels. This means not only the use of CO2-neutral natural materials, energy-efficient construction and heating with renewable energy sources, but also the saving of long transport routes in the manufacture and construction of the building, "says the architect.
More at www.matthiaswuerfel.at
For many, the dream of owning a house in the countryside is linked to the desire for health and exposure to nature. The choice of the main building material, one which does not burden the health, is particularly important.
The development of new building materials has progressed rapidly since the 1970s, and today everything seems technically feasible. But there is also a steadily rising number of health complaints, the causes of which could be traceable to the immediate living environment. Residual poisons found in some building materials and furniture can release polluting substances for years. They are considered as possible causes of allergies and other diseases as well. The health effects of evaporating plastics, foils of all kinds, solvents, adhesives and other construction chemicals are always posing new challenges.
The key point for a sustainable preventative measure of such avoidable diseases lies in the conscious decision for building with biologically harmless materials. For this reason, builders increasingly demand from planners, property developers or suppliers a full declaration of the processed material from resource, harvesting, and manufacturing. For Holz100, this list of declarations is short: wood. Holz100 is made entirely and exclusively of high quality wood.
With Holz100, not only does it surround its inhabitants with a completely unadulterated building material, Holz100 also strengthens your immune system, calms your vital nervous systems and helps you to live longer. Wooden rooms are so reassuring to our body systems that every night (proven scientifically), we save ourselves an hour of heartbeats each day.
These and other new research results on the health-promoting effects of wood are presented in many, various ways - such as Planet Ark's "Make it Wood" campaign.
With the Zinipi you can get a small Holz100 pearl in the garden. Whether as a reading and retreat, as a sauna or as a lookout point. The possibilities for the little cube are limited only by our own imagination. One of them (it became a Tepidarium) you can also test in the nature house.
In Austrian timber construction, the smallest and most westerly state is regarded as a land of pioneers. One of the young, wild Vorarlberg wood architects is Oskar Leo Kaufmann. He has planned a so-called "floating" timber construction - Holz100.
The water in a living being like a tree is more than just content in a tank which can be filled or emptied. The example with the oboes shows that at the end, kiln dried wood contains the same amount of moisture as wood which has been dried for 30 years. However, oboes made from kiln dried wood crack whereas seasoned wood doesn't, it stays stable and resonates.
The ability of wood to absorb and release moisture can be compared to a sponge. Timber which has been stored for a long time matures and dries slowly. It stays in shape even when the humidity is fluctuating, whereas younger and kiln dried wood tends to warp and bend. This principle always applies.
However, wood used for building and furniture manufacture has shorter drying and storage times than the highest quality wood used to build instruments. Depending on the type of tree and intended use, one to three years of air drying are sufficient here.
The rule to remember is: The faster the wood is drying, the more it will warp and twist. This is called the sponge effect. It means that on humid summer days, this type of wood absorbs more moisture from the surrounding air, expands and works harder than wood which has dried naturally over some years.
A stack of sawn boards which has been stored outside for a few years (protected from water), has been exposed to hot summer days as well as freezing winter nights. These boards have not only dried, they also experienced and adapted to the different weather conditions. This 'memory' has a relaxing effect on the wood.
In those years of storage and slow drying, something else and as important is happening: oxidation and several other processes cause the breakdown of nutrients for insects and fungi. This natural process to preserve wood is not happening when speeding up the drying process with a kiln (which takes from a few days to weeks).
Some economic experts who visited our saw mill showed utter disbelief when they saw a stack of oak boards which had been drying for four years. These boards were to be used for a solid wood floor at some stage. Four years of tying down capital when everyone knows you might as well kiln dry it in just a few days or weeks. How can you afford to leave this kind of capital lying around for such a long period?
From a business point of view this might seem right. However it doesn't have anything to do with using wood in the most ideal way.
The purely technical way of drying wood fast, unfortunately misses out on all the subtle benefits of working with nature. The resulting wood often needs to be treated with questionable preservatives or glues. Treated wood ends up as toxic waste and cannot be returned into the natural cycle to turn into valuable mulch and nutrients for other plants. It also cannot easily be burned either. This toxic waste is the beginning of a dead end road.
Communication by semiochemical substances represents only one type among many for trees. In his life’s journey, Dr. Erwin Thoma met another outstanding forester, Mr. Peter Wohlleben, whose books are also available in English. He made a surprising discovery about forests. As it turns out, communication methods between trees are incredibly complex. For example, trees recognize the saliva of various animals. Recent research by Leipzig University shows that when a deer bites a twig, the tree responds differently than when a person breaks it. Trees react to the saliva of caterpillars in yet another way. For example, oaks give off a special smell signal then, in the form of a semiochemical substance, thus calling predators such as hymenoptera bees for help. These lay eggs in the leaf-devouring caterpillars and as a result, the caterpillars get devoured from the inside by the newly hatched eggs.
Trees also communicate through their root systems called the wood wide web. It serves to convey warnings to its neighboring trees so that they could get ready for danger, such as insect attacks or drought. These signals are transmitted, as those in our nervous system, through electrical impulses and chemical substances. Where the roots of the trees do not reach, the information is transmitted through the connected mycelium network. Trees pay their "helpers" back by providing them with sugar. Mycelia are the largest living organisms on the Earth. Their size reaches thousands of acres, and some scientists claim that all mycelia on the Earth are connected. When trees at the bottom of the slope begin to feel the lack of water due to the drought, they inform other trees. These close their pores, thereby reducing water loss and slowing down photosynthesis. When one tree is attacked by wood borers, all trees within 50 meters change production to defensive substances. In our common larch, one of these substances is resin. It contains about 1000 complex chemicals and is the world's best natural fungicide, bactericidal and virucidal agent. Some trees can live more than 1000 years thanks to it. The ointment made from resin beats any pharmaceuticals that accelerate wound healing; however, it will never hit the market or doctors' offices, because its synthesis and patenting will probably never be possible, and pharmaceutical companies will not be able to make any money on it. This was stated by Professor Max Moser, who was mentioned earlier, and who was asked by Dr. Thoma to analyze the miracle wound ointment prepared by his grandmother. As a side fact, the same applies to Indian cannabis, which contains almost 445 unexplored compounds and is a cure for dozens of diseases, including cancer, as shown by the latest research in Germany and Israel, among others.
Hotel Seiser Alm of the Urthaler family is the largest wooden hotel in Europe with 45 family suites. Timber necessary for its construction was produced by the Austrian forest in an hour and a half. The forest not only has a healing effect on people, but it is also a system of exemplary economy. Forestry and economics are two academic areas of science which teach things that are completely the opposite. While we profit by exponential growth and elimination of competition is the only goal for the economy, the forest is based on cooperation to create the best conditions for the next generation. These are terms foreign to economists. Trees compete with each other only at the beginning of their careers, but they do not try to grow indefinitely and seize all resources for themselves.
When a tree dies, it returns each of its particles to where it came from. It leaves no waste in the wake of its life. Waste doesn’t exist nor is created. The only thing that exists is the circuit and cycle of its life. According to Dr. Thoma, this model is the only one we humans may model a sustainable economy on. There is no alternative. Dr. Thoma's computerized and robotized factory draws all the energy from photovoltaics and the surplus is returned to the grid. It manufactures without waste, from material that is created from carbon dioxide. Dr. Thoma claims that any economy or energy crisis is nonsense. The only crisis in the world is the crisis of our minds. We lack nothing other than the right concept for our economy. Today's furniture is made of particleboards glued together with chlorine derivatives and formaldehyde resins. They are extremely harmful to health and nature, and are classified as hazardous waste for the purpose of their disposal. Their disposal is more expensive than the purchase of solid wood of the same weight. However, it is a billion dollar industry supported by lobbyists and politicians. Humankind debates global warming caused by carbon dioxide, when one tree may neutralize tons of carbon out of the atmosphere. Instead of building waste-free wooden houses, we insulate them with styrofoam, which besides mildew offers minimal effects, and when soiled with plaster is almost impossible to dispose of. We burn carbon, gas, and oil to heat and cool buildings, when a few photovoltaic batteries can deliver more power to a wooden building than it needs. It is now the ideal time to start thinking differently. As you can see from Dr. Thoma's example, sometimes one man's perseverance is sufficient to initiate small, big changes in the world.
After about 20 years of fighting against the stereotypes of prejudice and discrediting attempts from wood and chemical industries, Dr. Thoma succeeded - as he says - in accomplishing technically everything. However, throughout the 20 years, he failed to scientifically explain and prove the positive impacts of wood on the wellbeing of people. As he says: “Intuition doesn’t lie, and the human body doesn’t lie either. Why, then, do I feel so great in the old, wooden house, whereas in a modern building my eyes tear up and my throat becomes scratchy?”. There must be a way to prove the positive impact of wood on people by using academic and scientific methods.
He tried with doctors and with medicine-related professionals, but he didn't get anywhere. A few years ago, he was invited to a wood industry symposium. Many scientists and well-known people participated in the symposium. Dr. Thoma noticed one strange, older man, with Einstein-like hair. It turned out to be Professor Max Moser, who was the department chair at the medical university in Graz. At a meal, Dr. Thoma jokingly asked him what he was doing at such a symposium full of tree huggers. The professor replied that he had participated in the AUSTROMIR program a few years earlier and together with his team, had created the medical research equipment for the Mir international space station. Max Moser is one of the most renowned scientists in Austria, and he was selected for the space program. “But what does this have to do with wood?”, asked Dr. Thoma.
The task of the professor, when it came to the space station, was to study all semiochemical substances that would affect the health or wellbeing of the cosmonauts. The space station has a closed air circuit and ventilation is impossible; hence, the effect of semiochemistry on humans is particularly strong. Semiochemical substances are chemical compounds, such as pheromones, produced by animals and plants that are used to carry information and exert a certain determined influence on the environment. However, the fumes of certain substances and plastics also affect humans. For this purpose, the professor developed a unique apparatus that can measure the effect of secreted substances on the autonomic nervous system of people. Dr. Thoma dropped his spoon from his hand and cried out, “professor, I have been looking for you for 20 years! If you can measure such impacts on humans, we must carry out a joint research project”. The professor replied that if he managed to fund such a project it wouldn’t be a problem, but - for a project like this - a six-digit sum might not be enough. Dr. Thoma had a lot of experience in organizing funding for research projects, and after a year he had a confirmation of the seven-digit sum for the research sitting on his table. Therefore, a large-scale research project was organized, and its results left no doubt whatsoever.
Two identical rooms were built for the project. One was constructed of solid wood, while the other was constructed of laminated particle boards. The result of the experiment was somewhat of a surprise. It turned out that 10 minutes after a man walked from the laminated particleboard to the solid wood room, his biological functions would completely change. His heart would relax, stabilize and slow down. The semiochemical substances released by the wood immediately informed the body that it could feel safe and was out of danger.
Ninety percent of Western Europeans die from three main causes: cardiovascular disease, cancer, dementia or Alzheimer's disease. These three risks are exactly the ones minimized by wood. During sleep, the heart rate slows down so that a person saves 1 hour of heartbeat overnight or 3000 strokes. As the number of heartbeats in one’s lifetime is limited to about 2 billion, one can say that in a wooden room people live 1 hour longer per day, and the sleep is deeper and more regenerating. People who suffer from sleep problems all the time, suddenly fall asleep easily in a wooden room. A walk in the forest has a similar effect on people.
Solid wood is not only the safest material when it comes to fire, flood or earthquakes, but it also protects its inhabitants from all kinds of harmful, high frequency electromagnetic waves. It completely stops, for example, mobile phone frequencies. This has been confirmed by research conducted by the Bundeswehr University in Munich.
It has also been found that wood is best suited for the construction of rooms with the highest level of surveillance protection required as well. Thanks to this finding, Dr. Thoma's company has received a number of orders to build various structures for the German army.
This seven-floor hotel is built completely out of Holz100 – 100% pure wood. It proves day by day the incredible static strength of this natural, raw material. More so, there is even a huge swimming pool located on the seventh floor which boasts a open-air panoramic view of surrounding mountains. Starting from the day that its foundation was laid, the time that it took to officially open its doors only took 2 months.
This is the Austrian, state-of-the-art film archive, which houses 70,000 historical nitro-film reels. Fumes from the film erode rebars in reinforced concrete and therefore wood becomes most suitable for this purpose. This archive requires no external sources of electricity, and the constantly monitored temperature is at 3 degrees Celsius throughout the year as fluctuations are unacceptable in this case. In the summer, the facade warms up to an average temperature of twenty degrees Celsius from the outside and only a small, solar-powered air conditioner is at work.
To obtain such a result, the building has been modeled after a red ant forest anthill.
The larval hatching chamber at the center of the mound is exceptionally resistant to variations in outdoor temperatures. For this purpose, a research project was created, which involved the best BMW specialists in engine thermodynamics. It turned out that wood has two completely unique thermodynamic properties. 1 kg of wood accumulates 2.5 times as much heat as 1 kilogram of stone, and the time required to change its temperature is much longer than any other natural, raw material.
This is the Haramura church near Fukushima in Japan which withstood a well-known earthquake for its destruction. Moreover, it is capable of surviving typhoons of up to 200 km per hour. One should know that for concrete, it is irreversibly damaged once it passes breaking point. Wood, on the other hand, flexes, shifts into the elastic phase, and then returns to its original form.
In 2012, Dr. Thoma's company built an energy self-efficient 5-floor commercial wooden building in Hamburg. This is ArcheNEO in Oberndorf, Tirol. A 6,600 square meter office complex, in which tenants’ leases state that they will not have to pay even a penny for heating throughout the year. The whole complex is built out of wood and not a trace of chemicals were used. Its temperature is regulated by heat pumps powered by photovoltaic batteries located on the roof.
It is hard to imagine, but the dense, hard timber that you can crack your head against is nothing but transformed air. Trees draw carbon dioxide from the air, returns oxygen, and uses carbon to build the most incredible structure that mankind refers to as wood. It only utilizes water and a small amount of minerals from the earth for this purpose. It is a structure so complex that the inner surface of one cubic centimeter of wood consists of 150 to 200 square meters in surface area.
Not only is this excellent structure the best natural heat insulator, but it also accumulates and stores heat well. Dr. Thoma in earlier years had already built many of the world's most energy-efficient homes, but even more so, he wanted to prove that it was possible to create an absolutely energy self-sufficient home without an external source of energy such as photovoltaics. He accomplished this by using other ancient methods.
Therefore he erected a five-floor house in the Bernese Oberland in the Matterhorn area of the Alps, which retains such an optimized facade with an intelligent arrangement of glass elements that during the day the sun falls through large windows on the so-called “sun traps” in the form of black stone floors. They warm up and act as a short-lived heat accumulator, while the high natural heat insulation properties of the wooden walls act as long-lasting heat storage. The house does not have any heating or ventilation, and its air quality and temperature are constantly monitored as part of the research project. Its indoor temperature in winter has never dropped below 18° C.
Moonwood harvesting was not only utilized in ancient Rome. After the first book was published, Dr. Thoma was unexpectedly visited by a delegation from Japan, led by the highest monk of the Japanese Buddhist monastery Hōryū-ji. The monastery is home to the world's oldest wooden buildings, erected in 607 AD. As it turned out, those buildings had also been built from moonwood. The head of the monastery wanted to become acquainted with Dr. Thoma's technology, because one of his student had left him with Dr. Thoma's book.
After observing everything, the monks left with a word that Dr. Thoma is turning the wheels of something great, because Buddhists believed that one should live in such a way which does as not leave any traces behind. Since Dr. Thoma’s technology does not harm the environment and does not leave waste throughout its entire life cycle, it certainly aligns with their principles. At the end, the monk promised his support. Dr. Thoma said goodbye, but questioned how they would be able to support him all the way from Japan and did not expect to hear back from them.
However, two weeks later a Japanese publisher called to inform Dr. Thoma that he received publication orders for a Japanese translation of Dr. Thoma’s book. Following his publications in Japan, Dr. Thoma started receiving orders for Holz100 from Japan. At this time, entering the Japanese market for building materials was considered virtually impossible even for large corporations, let alone such a small company like Dr. Thoma's.
To build houses in Japan, however, one needed to obtain the most restrictive certificate for earthquake resistance. Japan has at its disposal the largest platform for simulating seismic shocks which was where Dr. Thoma’s employees built a Holz100 house for testing. Dr. Thoma could not be present for testing, and he was very surprised when his employee called him to say that they failed to get certified.
The certificate is only issued when the tested house falls apart. It is then that the seismic level at which the construction fails is determined. However, Mr. Thoma’s house withstood the highest level of seismic shocks that could be simulated. The structure of the house had to be weakened by removing some of the connecting pegs for the house to fall apart, so that the certificate could be issued. The certificate received was of the highest safety class that can be obtained in Japan.
Holz100 Canada Inc.