A lot of energy is spent in the green building industry on innovating new materials that made of eco-friendly materials, easy to transport, and reclaimable when a structure must be torn down. But many of these materials have problems of their own in the manufacturing process, and in the meantime, there’s a natural material that’s already strong, insulating, sustainable and recyclable: wood. Using more wood in both new construction and renovation can help make green buildings greener, driving demand for sustainable forestry.
All materials, no matter how sustainable, have some adverse impacts on the environment. The use of wood, when it’s not grown and harvested sustainably, can be devastating on an ecosystem and the surrounding community. But modern forestry practices ensure that even when wood is harvested in large quantities, healthy, balanced forests can be maintained. Maximizing timber yields might be important for a forest owner’s bottom line, but protecting rivers, the soil and wildlife habitats while minimizing erosion and planting plenty of new trees helps ensure their business will last well into the future.
Naturally occurring and renewable, wood does the important job of storing carbon from the atmosphere, playing a crucial role in the fight against climate change. The energy required to manage, cut, transport and process it is minimal compared to other popular building materials like steel. That energy can be minimized even further with the use of local wood species.
For all of these reasons, and simply its unparalleled beauty, wood is becoming even more popular to incorporate into modern architecture or even as the sole material for high-rises.