A cabin and shore full of swans

The first summer cabin in Finland and all Nordic countries to carry the Nordic Swan Ecolabel is currently under construction in Uusikaupunki. Kiilto's environmentally friendly products, among others, are used in the building.

In a seafront summer cabin in Lokalahti, Uusikaupunki, Rauli Lantkankare is grouting the tile floor in the bathroom. It has been over two years since Rauli and his father-in-law Esko Helenius first put on their working gloves and turned on the cement mixer at this site.

Rauli’s idea of building the first summer cabin in Finland and the Nordic countries to carry the Nordic Swan Ecolabel had been brewing for a while:

“I wanted a summer getaway for the family and the in-laws, but building a traditional summer cabin didn’t seem challenging enough for me. That’s when I concluded that I could build a cabin that met the Nordic Swan ecolabelling criteria.”

Rauli Lautkankare is a civil engineer as well as a Senior Lecturer of Construction and Civil Engineering in Turku University of Applied Sciences. He also owns a design company.

“For a long time, I have been interested in the idea of developing construction and moving towards a healthier and more environmentally friendly way of living.”

Strict environmental criteria for materials

Whether it’s wood, paint, cement or drainpipes, all materials used in the Nordic Swan ecolabelled cabin must comply with the strict ecolabelling criteria. The requirements also cover the energy efficiency of the building, for example.

“When we first started, many of the materials had to be approved by the ecolabelling organisation, which was time-consuming. Today, the Nordic Swan ecolabelling database has an extensive list of products that meet the criteria.”

The cabin uses several Kiilto products, particularly in the two bathrooms and the separate sauna building. These products include Kiilto 60 Pikalattiamassa (Rapid Floor Screed for Castings)Kiilto KeraprimerKiilto KerafiberKiiltoFix Masaand Kiilto tile grouts and silicone sealants.

“Working with Kiilto products was simple, as the products were already listed in the Nordic ecolabelling database. Kiilto has also provided useful advice. The company is clearly excited about my project and interested in environmentally friendly building in general.”

Innovative ecolabelling

Rauli describes his experience as a long, but interesting, educational journey.

“I have learnt a great deal about doing business with suppliers, and how the building industry likes to hold on to its conventional methods. Getting new ideas through might take some effort.”

He highlights that these days, building materials are generally fairly healthy and environmentally friendly as it is. Nevertheless, there is always room for improvement, especially when it comes to indoor climate.

“It’s clear where all this is heading. Sweden and other Nordic countries already have hundreds of apartment buildings, nurseries, schools and houses carrying the Nordic Swan Ecolabel. I believe that my summer cabin will not be the last of its kind.”

For example, there is a house being built in Kaarina, near the city of Turku, that also carries the Nordic Swan Ecolabel. Rauli is the general supervisor at the site, and Kiilto products are also being used in this building.

Christmas at the cabin

Grouting the floor tiles in the bathroom with Kiilto’s tile grout is progressing smoothly. The cabin seems almost finished.

“Perhaps we will be able to spend Christmas at the cabin. The children enjoy visiting here as well. They have their own sand castle construction site on the shore.”

Rauli has already started planning a new construction project for next summer.

“I was thinking of building a bird hide using reeds, along with other materials.”

Even now, there are birds along the shore — swans, obviously.

Read more about Products eligible for Nordic Swan Ecolabelling.