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Hiil produces construction materials from discarded wood

Hiil transforms sawmill industry side streams and wood that would otherwise be incinerated into new construction materials and prevents valuable materials from being incinerated.


Tim Forslund

Specialist, Nature and the economy

Riku Sinervo

Senior Lead, Global collaboration, Sustainability solutions



The sawmill industry in Finland generates approximately 1,000,000 m3 of wood waste annually, resulting in an unnecessarily large land-use footprint. Valuable materials are rejected from the production line due to legislative barriers or aesthetic or structural defects, such as knots that are too large, fractures or blue stain. Many other sources of wood, for example from construction sites, are also discarded as waste. As it cannot be used for primary purposes, this wood is often incinerated.  


Hiil Ltd purchases wood materials from sawmill industry side streams that have either been in previous use or are of inferior quality. Hiil cleans the surface of the wood by treating it with fire, using a method originating from Japan, called yakisugi, or shou sugi ban. Once the surface is charred, Hiil treats the surface with oil, brushes or washes to generate varied natural colours and textures. The solution is applicable for interior and exterior uses, such as wall panelling and patios.  

“By making better use of discarded wood, we can help reduce the growing competition for forest biomass.” 

Riku Sinervo and Tim Forslund, Sitra

Biodiversity impacts

Hiil’s solution decreases negative biodiversity impacts through better use of otherwise rejected wood materials, thus reducing the demand for virgin wood production. When less virgin wood is needed for sawmills and other purposes, this reduces logging and the associated land-use footprint. The solution also helps store more carbon in buildings.  

Benefits for the company

By making use of sawmill side streams and other sources of wood waste, more value can be generated from the wood, enabling significant cost savings. The solution can also help Hiil’s customers reach their resource and climate targets.   

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