Wood Building Materials Are Sustainable and Renewable
Green Building Elements (05/03/15) Hanley, Stephen
Wood, unlike concrete or steel, absorbs and sequesters carbon dioxide indefinitely, and can be repurposed or recycled at the end of its useful life. Globally, there is an inexhaustible supply of wood, making it sustainable as well as renewable, according to a study by Architecture and Design. Properly managed wood use drastically reduces global carbon emissions and fossil fuel consumption while preserving biodiversity. New technologies, such as cross laminated timber (CLT), make timbers nearly as strong as steel, according to the American Wood Council. The Wood Innovation Design Center, a six-story CLT building in British Columbia, Canada, inspired the government to enact a regulation requiring wood as a primary building material in all new provincially funded buildings. Buildings made with prefabricated wood take 30 percent less time to construct and create less waste. Sauter Timber manufactures CLT timbers up to 20 feet long for the structural framework of wooden buildings. CLT panels are so strong that fewer roof beams are needed, saving time and money for builders. Madison, Wis.-based Whole Trees, in cooperation with the Forest Products Laboratory of the U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Service, uses whole trees harvested for tree-thinning and turns them into trusses, beams, and joists in building construction.