Let building materials live on after a transformation

A significant part of the world’s CO2 emissions comes from the production of building materials. So, there's massive potential in extending the lifetime of materials rather than switching to new ones. Troldtekt acoustic panels have a service life of at least 50–80 years – and can be painted without affecting their acoustic properties. See how old Troldtekt ceilings have been given new life after renovation and transformation.

30.05.2024
Troldtekt acoustic ceilings are the natural choice when wanting to ensure superior acoustics and a healthy indoor climate in, for example, office buildings
Photo: Thomas Mølvig, arkitekt

Every time we release ten tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, more than one tonne comes from the production and handling of building materials.

In the 2019 report 'Bringing embodied carbon upfront', Ramboll and the World Green Building Council estimated that 11 per cent of the world’s carbon footprint comes from the production and transport of building materials, as well as demolition and waste management. A further 28 per cent comes from building use.

In Denmark, where we use a high proportion of green energy and are good at optimising building energy consumption, up to 80 per cent of a building's total carbon footprint comes from materials – also referred to as 'embedded carbon' – according to the assessment.

In the EU’s waste hierarchy, prevention of waste – i.e. maintaining existing solutions for as long as possible – is at the top of the list, above reutilisation and recycling.

The service life of building materials therefore also plays a major role in a life cycle assessment (LCA). It can have a major impact on the climate footprint whether a developer replaces a building component after 20 years – or whether it can continue to be used for at least 50 years, for example.

A Troldtekt acoustic panel consisting of wood and cement has a service life of at least 50–80 years. Building certifications such as DGNB expect a maximum lifetime of 50 years however, even though some materials actually last longer in practice.

Troldtekt acoustic panels can be painted several times without affecting their properties.

Extend the lifetime with repairs and paint

The standard lifespan of cement-bonded wood wool panels is stated as being 50 years in an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD), based on data from a German database with generic product information. However, there are plenty of examples in practice of Troldtekt acoustic panels in buildings which are 80 years old or more.

That means developers can let the panels 'live on' when they renovate or transform their buildings. It's also possible to repair Troldtekt acoustic panels and paint them over and over again with a water-based paint without affecting their acoustic properties. That means they can maintain their condition and obtain a look that matches a building’s updated design – even though they may be several decades old. It's important however to ensure that the water-based paint does not contain harmful ingredients.

 

Download instructions for cleaning, painting and repairing Troldtekt acoustic panels

Three examples: old acoustic panels in new frames

In Denmark, where Troldtekt has been on the market since 1935, there are many examples of successful renovations and transformations where the acoustic panels have been preserved. You can read about three of them below:

Troldtekt cement-bonded wood wool panels ensure superior acoustics in commercial properties
Photo: Tommy Kosior, Troldtekt A/S

#1

Aarhus Airport, Aarhus

With over half a million travellers annually, this airport outside Aarhus is one of Denmark’s largest. The ground floor of the airport in particular underwent a major renovation a few years ago – including a new café and lounge area.

To emphasise the exclusive look, the airport’s existing acoustic ceiling from Troldtekt was painted black, complementing the design.

Find more info and photos from the project

Troldtekt acoustic ceilings are the natural choice when wanting to ensure superior acoustics and a healthy indoor climate in, for example, office buildings
Photo: Thomas Mølvig, arkitekt

#2

ZENI Arkitekter’s design studio, Aabenraa

This old boiler house in the city centre was built as part of a heating plant in 1957 and was in use until 2012. It's now been transformed into a high-ceilinged design studio. ZENI architects have achieved a very inspiring transformation, which was included among Denmark’s six best refurbishment projects in 2020.

The original Troldtekt acoustic panels from 1957 have been preserved in the ceiling, helping to give the room an authentic look.

Find more info and photos from the project

Troldtekt cement-bonded wood wool panels ensure superior acoustics in hotels
Photo: Helene Høyer Mikkelsen, arkitekt MAA

#3

Restaurant Lula, Aarhus

On the harbour side of Aarhus, the combined bar and restaurant Lula is located in premises that previously housed the Aarhus Sailing Club, followed by the restaurants Frk. Koch and KP5. The Troldtekt acoustic ceilings are from the sailing club’s era and have since followed all three generations of restaurants in the building. The panels have now been given new life with a layer of black paint that matches Lula’s intimate atmosphere.

Find more info and photos from the project

FACTS: Troldtekt and sustainability



  • Troldtekt acoustic panels have a long service life of at least 50–80 years, and can often live longer when a developer transforms a building for a new purpose.
  • If holes/cracks appear in the acoustic panels, they can easily be repaired using commonly available materials etc. Badly damaged individual panels may need to be replaced.
  • You can (re)paint Troldtekt acoustic panels without affecting their acoustic properties. There is a difference between painting untreated natural panels and panels delivered factory-painted from Troldtekt A/S. Even more important is your choice of paint type and colour.

Read more in the instructions for cleaning, painting and repairing Troldtekt acoustic panels