“One of the best ways to address climate change is to use more wood, not less. Every wood substitute — including steel, plastic and cement — requires far more energy to produce than lumber.”
– Dr. Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace
- Wood is the only 100% renewable resource in the manufacturing of building products.
- Wood is the only naturally recyclable and biodegradable building material.
- Wood has the lowest environmental impact compared to other building products such as steel, concrete, tile, vinyl siding, fiber cement siding, and stucco.
- Wood products require less embodied energy. This is energy used in the extraction, production and transportation of the resource.
- Wood products require little to no fossil fuels (a nonrenewable resource) to produce.
- Wood products produce less air pollution.
- Wood products produce less water pollution.
- Wood products generate less greenhouse gases. Wood reduces carbon emissions while concrete and steel increase carbon emissions.
- Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is considered a contributor to Global Warming – Beyond Old Growth Trees that actually emit more CO2 into the air, young and mature trees actually reduce CO2 from the atmosphere.
- Wood products are better insulators in homes and buildings which reduces the energy consumption in both heating and cooling making it the most energy efficient material. Wood is 400 times better at insulating than steel and 15 times better than concrete.
- Wood products produce less solid waste – both in manufacturing of the products and at construction sites. There is virtually no waste in manufacturing wood products.
- Wood products have the lowest ecological resource use index. This means that while trees are harvested the effects are only short term as reforestation follows. Other products have long term effects as their resources are non-renewable, ex. petroleum for plastic and ore used in steel and aluminum siding. Once these non-renewable resources are gone they cannot be replaced.
- The trees themselves are produced naturally through solar energy.
- Wood can be re-used and recycled with very little additional energy. Concrete cannot be re-used in the same form but can be downcycled to aggregate with a lot of additional energy expended.
- No other building product is more environmental than wood as demonstrated in “ATHENA’s life cycle assessment” research and study. From the growing of the tree to the disposal of the wood products, wood has a minimal environmental footprint. Non-renewable products such as steel, aluminum and concrete use up to 250% more fossil fuel energy from the production to the disposal vs. wood.
- Wood is in abundance – Canada harvests less than ¼ of 1% of its forest area each year. B.C. plants 3 seedlings for every tree harvested. Comparatively speaking Canada harvests “four times less (proportionally) than the five largest European forest nations combined”.
We would like to acknowledge and thank the following sources for the information provided:
- Coast Forest and Lumber Association: www.cfla.org
- Canadian Lumbermen’s Association: www.canadianlumbermen.com
- The Athena Institute
- The Wood Users Guide to Green Building