The American Hardwood Export Council sponsored a discussion with Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud at the Hay-on-Wye literary festival last week, in which he said he wanted consumers to know more about the origins and environmental stories of construction and home products.

Mr McCloud was talking about his new book, 43 Principles of Home, and said that there should be more awareness of where and how these products are made, what materials are used and where they come from.

“The concept of disposability cannot be sustainable,” he said. “We should be using materials sensibly and wisely and embrace natural ones where we can.”

AHEC itself is currently undertaking the largest life cycle analysis of hardwood ever and in discussion with AHEC European director David Venables, Mr McCloud agreed that scientific evidence was needed to back up products’ environmental claims.

AHEC also provided the American hardwood furniture used on the festival stage. The red oak chairs were designed by designer-maker Philip Koomen and the hard maple coffee and discussion tables were designed and built by local design team Andy Dix and Lou Christie, with the timber supplied by James Latham of Dudley. AHEC additionally supplied the tulipwood ‘wave and splash’ bench, again designed by Philip Koomen, used in the picnic area.