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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Is building with wood more “green and sustainable?” | Factoidz

Steve Feller, Blogging & Networking in Sandy, Ut
26 factoids published | + 61 votes | 21 followers & subscribers | Level 4: Fz Expert [?]
Expert rankings: #1 in green living, #1 in green building, #1 in green

When the subject of lumber is renewable, recyclable and sustainable come up in conversations surrounding green products many have differing opinions. For decades the lumber industry has been bashed for bad practices in managing our environment. Yes in the past there have been some bad practices but in the United States our forests are managed in ways they many don’t even understand.

When some talk about the lumber industry they portray companies that are eliminating the forests. That is just not the case. Let’s look at the nature life cycle of a forest if humans never stepped foot inside. Trees grow and drop seeds and more trees grow. The forest continues overtime to thicken and the large trees kill out the smaller trees creating dead down fall. Over years some of this down fall decays and returns to the earth. This process continues to create overgrown forests and more dry trees.

Fire is eventually the remedy that cleanses the forest and starts the process all over. Nature causes such as beetles can kill off a complete forests and again fire is the remedy to restore the forest. A well managed forest can be looked at similar the life cycle just described, cleaning out the old to allow for the smaller new trees to flourish. Creating a continuing life cycle of usable products that can be recycled that is not harmful or toxic in any way. Many claim that steel studs are greener than wood studs. If the life cycle of a steel stud versus the life cycle of a wood stud is compared, lumber is far greener than steel. It takes more energy to create a steel stud and the renewable factors of wood are far better. Yes steel can be recycled but with the use of far more energy. Ore comes from the ground and is not renewable like growing a tree.

Not all lumber companies manage the forests like they should. The same as all car companies don’t produce fuel efficient cars. So finding a certified green dealer is important if you want to make sure your wood products are considered green. The two leading wood certification programs in the US are FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) and SFI (Sustainable Forestry Initiative). USGBC only recognizes FSC while NAHB National Green Building Standards recognizes both. So from this is wood "Green and Sustainable"? Well this debate will go on for ever so you decide.


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