Wood is one of the most sustainable materials you can choose for your doors and windows. In our current climate, where we’re witnessing the unprecedented rise of CO2 levels, this is more important than ever. Our customers often ask us about the sustainability of the materials we use, and as a joinery, we strive to be as environmentally friendly as possible.
Sustainability is all about using the Earth’s natural resources, without harming the environment. The World Commission on Environment and Development describes sustainability as ‘Development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs’.
How sustainable is timber as a material?
Lifecycle assessment is a technique which assesses the environmental impact of a building component throughout its life. Assessment tools are being developed to assist designers, clients, specifiers and developers in achieving sustainable strategies for housing and commercial building. There are three broad areas to consider when assessing the relative impact of various building materials:
- The energy used in the production of the material
- The ability of the product to save energy during the use of the building
- The recycling and final disposal of the materials or product
Timber is the most sustainable building material as it is a natural product and it is renewable. In fact, wood can play a major role in combating climate change. It can absorb carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – one cubic metre of forest absorbs one tonne of CO2. Using wood also helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by substituting fossil fuels for renewable products – we just need to ensure that all wood comes from sustainably managed forests.
8 good reasons to choose wood
Wood is a good thermal insulator
It reduces heating costs. In fact, wood has the best thermal insulation properties of any mainstream building material.
Forests contain diverse forms of life.
Over 90% of the wood (hardwood and softwood) we use is sourced from European forests and these forests are growing by 661,000 hectares every year – an area greater than three football pitches, every hour of the day and night. Greater use of wood products will further encourage the expansion of Europe’s forests.
Timber products are biodegradable.
When timber products finally come to the end of their useful life, they can be disposed of by being burned, or they will rot naturally.
Waste products can be recycled into other materials such as particle boards and MDF, or used for heating. This reduces the need to use fossil fuels.
Growing trees absorb emissions
emissions (forests are referred to as carbon sinks). Sustainably managed forests are run with respect for the planet, people and prosperity. Great care is taken with the choice and mix of species, harvesting at maturity, natural regrowth and planting. This shows respect to the ecosystems on which local flora and fauna depend, and the way of life of people who depend on the forest.
Wood is carbon neutral.
The substitution of wood for other materials can result in reduced CO2 emissions, as the carbon dioxide stored by the forest and in the timber product outweighs any carbon dioxide created during production. Each tonne of timber used instead of other building materials (like steel, brick or concrete block) saves around a tonne of carbon dioxide.
can be renovated and repaired easily, maximising its lifespan and preventing the need to use more wood.
Wood is durable.
A good quality wooden product should, with care and maintenance, last a lifetime. Many Victorian houses still have their original wooden windows, doors and floors.