Kontio log houses don’t just look good, they’re good for your health, too. Kontio is an expert in healthy wood houses and our R&D team works in research projects with leading specialists to develop innovations for well-being and healthy living. With our Kontio Healthy Living™ programme, we’re building on 45 years of knowhow with healthy buildings.
Kontio uses genuine arctic pine as a raw material. Kontio Arctic Pine™ wood is strong, beautiful and long lasting, and it grows in the clean natural forests in Northern Finland far from cities and industry. It also has other properties which make it a superior choice of construction material. Kontio Arctic Pine™ contains many natural antibacterial substances, which give it resistance against moisture, mould and other harmful things. This makes Kontio houses durable and healthy, even in demanding rainy and moist conditions.
These properties are valued by our customers, and, for example, Kontio has been chosen as a supplier for schools and public buildings specifically because we could provide buildings with good indoor air quality.
People spend as much as 90% of their time indoors, which makes indoor air quality especially important. And according to research, Kontio log homes have exceptionally good indoor air.
In addition, people who live in log houses are the most satisfied with their air quality. A study in Finland showed that people living in log houses had a higher level of satisfaction with their indoor air quality compared to people living in brick or timber-frame houses. This is because wood has special properties that other building materials do not.
Kontio Arctic Pine™ logs create a healthy microclimate by balancing the humidity in a room’s air. Arctic Pine™ wood absorbs moisture when the indoor air is too humid, and releases moisture back into the air when the humidity is too low. This "breathing" of Kontio logs ensures that the indoor air humidity remains within the optimal range for human health over a much broader range of conditions than in houses with painted or non-breathing structures. When indoor air is outside the optimal humidity range, the amount of dust, viruses and bacteria in the indoor air considerably increases. This can often lead to health problems such as respiratory infections, asthma, allergies, exhaustion and headaches.
Kontio logs are a safe and healthy building material for indoor use, and they meet the M1 emission classification for building materials, which is the best possible. In this case, low emissions mean that the product does not emit harmful compounds or unpleasant odours, and the M1 label shows that the product has been found to be safe and that it has low emissions.
Studies have shown that massive wood structures can have positive health effects, especially in school environments. In an Austrian study, the effect of different building materials on the heart rate of the students was studied. The results showed that the use of solid wood in classrooms could lower the heart rate, as well as reduce stress levels.
Children in massive wooden classrooms had, on average, 8,600 heart beats fewer per day than children in a painted plasterboard classroom. The stress peak which is common in the morning hours also decreased soon after the students arrived at school and did not return.
Wooden structures are also a way of connecting with nature. Enjoying nature increases our energy levels and reduces stress. A good connection to nature is also a source of creativity and inspiration. You can enjoy nature in various ways, for example by walking outdoors, by looking at scenery, or by being in a garden and around green plants. You can also enjoy nature and natural materials inside a Kontio log house.
Research indicates that natural clean wood interiors reduce stress, lower blood pressure, generate more positive feelings, improve sleep and help people to recover from everyday challenges. Kontio homes help to maintain and bring back vital energy in life.
As part of the Kontio Healthy Living™ programme, we took part in the Restorative Environment Design research project with KyAmk in Finland and we are developing the concept of connecting to nature in our houses further. For example, the Kontio Glass House doubles the connection to nature by providing both an excellent view of the landscape outside through the big windows and by surrounding the occupants with attractive wooden log walls.
Wood for Kontio houses comes from sustainably managed and PEFC certified forests. In these forests, for every tree cut more than four trees are planted to replace it and renew the forest. Finland is Europe's most forest-covered country with almost 80% of the total land area covered in forest. Annual forest growth clearly exceeds harvest in Finland, and active growing forests bind more carbon dioxide than old forests. Finland also has Europe's largest old conservation forests accounting for 12% of the forest area. By taking care of old forests, nurturing new forests, and using wood for ecological log houses, together we can help tackle climate change in a sustainable way.
The PEFC Council (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification schemes) is an independent, non-profit organisation, dedicated to promoting sustainable forest management according to internationally accepted standards.
In addition to being relaxing and beautiful to look at, Kontio Log Houses also provide an excellent acoustic space with a quiet and peaceful atmosphere. Musicians throughout the years have often chosen to play in log houses due to their superior acoustics. Massive log walls diffuse sound, while also maintaining an even balance of tones without echo or distortion.
Our customers also value these acoustic properties, and, for example, a kindergarten in Finland appreciated their Kontio Log House for its excellent acoustics.
Wood is an excellence choice of building material because it is 100% renewable. And using wood instead of non-renewable materials means that the carbon footprint and environmental impact of a building are greatly reduced. By weight, wood mainly consists of water and carbon (in the form of cellulose). Through photosynthesis, a growing tree binds about one ton of carbon dioxide (CO₂) per cubic meter of wood, while simultaneously releasing oxygen into the air.
Many tons of carbon dioxide are stored in every Kontio log and structure. Each long-life Kontio log house is a “carbon sink" and a real eco-statement in the battle against climate change. Growing new forests continues this positive carbon dioxide binding cycle.