Iain Smith, Managing Director at A Wood Idea, take a look at why wood is an environmentally friendly choice for your home
While it has been a continual talking point for many years now, huge emphasis has been placed on making environmentally friendly choices in recent months. Today, going green is more on our radar than ever before as people and brands take action, from Morrisons trialling plastic free fruit and veg departments to new government controls to limit the use of plastic straws, drinks stirrers and cotton buds.
As we make the switch to greener living, have you considered the impact of your choice of building materials on your home’s overall carbon footprint? Whether you’re building a new home from the ground up, renovating or extending your existing property, it’s worth considering the potential impact your work will have on the environment.
A growing number of architects and builders are choosing timber as a building material; not only is it easy to work with and readily available, it also has a positive environmental impact.
Here are seven reasons why wood could be a great choice for your next project:
1. It’s renewable
Wood is a renewable material, the impact it has on the environment is less than some other building materials, and supplies are plentiful. 90% of the wood we use is from forests in Europe, which according to the British Woodworking Federation are growing at a rapid rate of 661,000 hectares each year.
2. It’s long lasting
Although the type, location and treatment of wood will impact how long it lasts for, generally speaking wood is a durable material. Hardwood is the most durable, and treated correctly can last longer than a lifetime – some hardwood doors can last over 100 years. With an increased usable life, choosing wood products now means we will need fewer new products in the future, saving energy on the production process.
3. It helps retain heat
With energy costs soaring, it’s wise to choose a material with strong insulating properties. Wood’s cellular makeup complete with air chambers makes it a natural insulator, holding heat seven times better than ceramic tiles. Using wood as part of your project could result in a warmer space, which, as a result, will use less energy to heat.
4. It’s easily recycled and upcycled
With such a long usable life, wood can be reworked and refinished many times. From a fresh coat of paint to a full upcycling project, this versatility means we’re less likely to throw away wooden furniture or fittings.
5. It absorbs carbon dioxide
Did you know that one cubic metre of new wood removes just less than a tonne of CO2 from the atmosphere? As such, wood as a material has a low carbon footprint, as trees only stop absorbing CO2 once they reach maturity, and at that point, they’re usually harvested. The wood retains the carbon, removing it completely from the atmosphere.
6. It produces limited, fully biodegradable waste
Waste from the manufacture of wooden products is limited, and any waste that is produced is 100% biodegradable, preventing residual landfill. Plus, some of the waste can actually be used elsewhere, like sawdust in manufacturing or burning the waste to provide an energy source.
7. It has a positive psychological impact
A report by Timber and Design Online has found that wood can help reduce stress when used in the home. Not only does it provide mental health benefits, choosing the natural material over manmade options can reduce the release of potentially harmful chemicals released into the environment through the production process.
By choosing wood as a building material, you are not only benefitting both you and your family, but also the environment.