Sustainable Building: Why Wood Is Our Most Valuable Resource

Sustainable Building

In some small way, each of us knows the value of wood as a resource. In fact, we use it every day—it heats our homes, makes our stationery, lines our floors. But in spite of all of its uses, wood is still a taboo material where building is concerned. Instead, we use concrete and steel in the hopes that our buildings (which are often our biggest investments) will remain strong and stable.

We tell ourselves that wood is too weak to sustain anything more than a few stories; that it’ll succumb to any number of elements–fire, water, you name it. But is any of this really true? While we prompt each other to ‘save the trees’ and find ways to eliminate wood from our construction processes, others are using this resource to develop and maintain sustainable building practices that will help us all in the long run.

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While sustainable building–or green building–dates back centuries, it really came into focus during the 1970’s when environmentally conscious groups forged a movement that expressed a strong need for more nature-friendly building practices. Over the years, green building has come to mean that resource-efficient processes are used throughout a building’s life cycle, from siting all the way through to end-of-life deconstruction. And wood has played a major role in this cycle. With a carbon footprint that’s 75% less than that of concrete or steel, is it any wonder that wood has become a top contending material for green builders?

Read more from the U.S. Green Building Council.