The construction industry contributes 23% of all the greenhouse gases in Australia. It is therefore imperative to look at what materials are being used in construction while considering the operational processes like transport and energy.
The only renewable building material is wood. And it has to be sourced responsibly. It grows naturally and its source of carbon dioxide is the atmosphere. Again, when a tree is logged and processed into a finished product, the carbon dioxide is stored up in that product, just as it was stored in the live tree.
Less energy is used to process wood, which is referred to as embodied energy. Compared to other building materials, wood has less carbon footprints due to the fact that it uses less energy. As well, wood can be used as an alternative building material for those materials that require a lot of fuel for production.
Some of the benefits include:
Dealing with Climate Change
When the right wood is used, it is capable of tackling or dealing with the changes in the climate. Wood is able to remove carbon for the atmosphere and at the same time minimize the amount of carbon being released into the atmosphere.
Storage of Carbon
Carbon is usually stored in live trees and wood products. All the carbon dioxide absorbed by the tree when it was growing remains stored up in the wood item. The dry weight of wood is 50% carbon.
Improved Human Health and Well-being
There are studies that show that using wood has some psychological and physiological advantages. People are generally happier in spaces that are created with natural elements such as wood, e.g. hospitals, schools work places among others.
Less Production of Carbon Dioxide
Compared to other building materials, less energy is used to produce and process wood, which subsequently gives wood much less carbon footprint. It is also a good alternative to the materials that require more fossil fuel energy to produce. For instance, if you take one solid concrete of brick and use one cubic meter of wood instead, you will have saved the atmosphere a whole one ton from being produced.
A tree can grow again. A tree can be planted. This means that the trees can continually provide wood for building, store carbon, generate oxygen and provide a home for the wildlife.
Due to the increasing demand for wood products that can store carbon, there is potential to have sustainably managed forests which will be unending source of the trees and more land can be covered with forests.
Strong and Durable
Wood is known to be stronger that steel or concrete. It can hold more weight of a structure. Similarly, it can last very long, especially if it is well take care of.
Because it has air pockets in its structure, it makes it a natural insulator and so much better that the other building materials. For this reason, it reduces the cost of heating and cooling a house.
Fast to Construct
You can have your wooden structure refabricated offsite which makes it faster to put up the entire house and can also be built in any kind of weather.
Whether it is the entire structure of just the framework, wood is generally affordable even in terms of direct expenses for construction.
Wood has a visual appeal with a natural appearance and texture. It is versatile and so can be used for various purposes.
By using wood, you are promoting the local carpenters as well as the craftspeople.