The production and processing of Wood uses much less energy – known as embodied energy – than most other building materials, giving Wood products a significantly lower carbon footprint. As a result, Wood can be used as a low-emission substitute for materials that require larger amounts of fossil fuels to be produced. As a rule of thumb, if you convert one cubic metre of a solid material, such as concrete or brick, for a cubic metre of Wood, you will eliminate approximately one tonne (1000kg) of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the atmosphere.
Wood frame buildings are often thought of as a lightweight form of construction, but don’t be misled. It is a custom-made structure that is remarkably strong and durable. There are many advantages to Wood frame construction, but its best-known quality is its environmental excellence.
Here are some great reasons why Wood is the best construction material:
One of the biggest advantages of using wood as a building material is that it is a natural resource, making it readily available and economically feasible. Generally, Wood is non-toxic, does not leak chemical vapour into the building and is safe to handle and touch. It also means that as Wood ages, it does so naturally.
Ecology and Sustainability
People have been building with Wood for thousands of years. Wood is ecological and sustainable and a truly renewable building material. Wood is grown quicker than it is used. Most of the main Wood supplying countries have long-standing policies to re-grow more Wood than is felled. If new trees are planted to replace those harvested, Wood will continue to be available. Wood is milled all over the world and is often used close to where it is produced. This promotes local economies and reduces the energy needed to transport materials long distances.
Low in Production Energy
It takes very little energy to convert the wood in trees to the Wood used in building. This means that the embodied energy in Wood is low. In fact, it is the lowest of almost all common building materials.
A Store for Carbon
Wood is made from carbon drawn from the atmosphere. This carbon would otherwise be adding to the greenhouse effect. Using Wood in buildings stores the carbon for as long as the building stands or the Wood is used.
Offers Great Insulation
Wood is a natural insulator and can help reduce energy needs when it is used in windows, doors and floors. A Wood frame allows more space for insulation and wood itself also has naturally thermally insulating properties. Of course, a better insulated building requires less energy to heat and cool, which typically means less fossil fuel use.
Wood also has better insulating properties than steel. Wood’s structure contains minute air pockets, which limit its ability to conduct heat and help to minimise the energy needed for heating and cooling providing very energy efficient buildings.
Energy Efficient Wood Buildings
Wood helps to minimize energy consumption in several ways. Life cycle of a product studies show that wood and Wood frame buildings significantly outperform steel and concrete.
Easy to Work With
Wood is versatile and can be used in a wide variety of ways. Being light, it is easy to install and can be worked with simple equipment. This reduces the energy needed for construction. Different species of tree produce Wood of differing colours, textures and functional qualities.
No Limits on Design and Size
Considering the relationship between using the material and the environment is very important when building. Using Wood as the main building material is a great choice with its endless design possibilities.
Durable and Easy to Maintain
Wood is a highly durable material. Some well-made wooden structures last for centuries. It is also easy and cheap to maintain compared to other building materials.