Wood is the most useful and most sustainable material.
It is beautiful, natural, renewable, durable, reusable, flexible, and carbon neutral when harvested sustainably. Every part of the tree can be used – there doesn’t have to be any waste. There are many other properties that make it an ideal material for many uses including:
- Building and construction
- Furniture and finishings
- Consumer products
- Pulp and paper
- Fuel e.g. firewood and biodiesel.
The benefits of wood
When wood is responsibly and sustainably sourced there are many benefits for substituting it for other materials:
It is renewable
Responsibly sourced, it is renewable. Trees, if cut down, will regrow to provide a wide range of other benefits described below such as carbon storage, oxygen generation and forest habitat.
It stores carbon
Trees and wood products store carbon. As trees grow, they take carbon out of the atmosphere. When the trees are harvested and used to make products, the carbon remains stored for the life of the product. 50% of the dry weight of wood is carbon.
It produces less carbon dioxide
The production and processing of wood is more energy efficient than most alternatives, giving wooden products a very low carbon footprint. It can usually be used in place of materials like steel, aluminium, concrete or plastics which require large amounts of energy to produce.
Forests provide natural services
Forests provide natural services such as flood control, erosion control and habitats for animals and plants.
It is durable
Wood is a durable material for both homes and commercial buildings. When properly looked after it can last hundreds of years. Modern preservatives enhance it’s natural durability.
It is structurally strong
Wood is very strong. A comparison with steel and concrete shows that radiata pine structural timber, for example, has a strength for weight ratio 20 percent higher than structural steel and four to five times better than non-reinforced concrete in compression.
It is a natural insulator
Wood itself is a natural insulator due to air pockets within its cellular structure. As an insulator wood is 15 times better than masonry, 400 times better than steel, and 1,770 times better than aluminium.
It is fast and efficient to build with
Construction with wood is fast and efficient. Wooden buildings can be built year-round in most climates.
It can be cheaper
Comparative studies of the economics of different wall framing systems indicate that, in terms of direct building expenses, timber frames are consistently the most cost-effective solution.
It is naturally beautiful
Wood is naturally beautiful and aesthetically pleasing.
It provides local jobs
Because woodwork is often done on site or pre-fabricated locally or regionally, choosing wood means supporting local jobs for carpenters and craftspeople.