Why should we use timber?
There is no more sustainable product than timber.It is from a managed source and more trees are planted than are felled securing future supplies.Timber is an extremely versatile product lending itself to all types of structural design.
Thermal efficiency of timber construction meets or exceed current regulations, UK homes account for 27% of all emissions. Ruth Kelly, The Communities Secretary, has pledged the Government wants to reduce CO2 emissions by 60% by 2050.
Wood for outdoor use is derived from a renewable resource. It grows from the earth, is harvested, manufactured and used for decades or even centuries. Then, when its useful life span is ended, it returns to the earth. This natural life cycle explains why wood for outdoor use is the environmentally sound choice when compared to alternative materials like concrete, plastic or metal. Only wood comes from a renewable, biodegradable resource. Today's sustainable forestry practices ensure a perpetual abundance of high-quality wood. Aluminum and concrete come from materials extracted from the earth. Once removed, they can never be replaced.
Plastics are derived from dwindling petroleum reserves. Of each tree harvested, 95% goes into useful products. The remaining 5%, the branches, is left on the forest floor to biodegrade into rich compost for the next crop. Concerned about tomorrow? Wood's on your side. Sustainability of Building Materials Wood Steel Concrete Energy Use :Lowest 140% more 70% more G-house Gases:Lowest 45% more 81% more Air Pollution:Lowest 42% more 67% more Water Pollu'n:Lowest1900% more 90% more Solid Waste :Lowest 36% more 96% more Eco Resource :Lowest 16% more 97% more Source: The Athena Sustainable Materials Incentive
Timber's low carbon properties have already been well documented in a range of scientific studies and academic reports, which outline how wood actively mitigates against the effects of carbon change by absorbing CO2 and emitting oxygen during the growth process, resulting in carbon being captured in timber products.
David Hopkins, Head of External Affairs for Wood for Good said: "Increasing forest cover is recognised as one of the most effective weapons we have in the battle against climate change, and the best way to achieve this is to stimulate demand for sustainable timber and wood products. The introduction of a Wood First rule will help to make this happen. "
Introducing the rule would bring multiple benefits to local authorities. It will help drive efficiencies by increasing the speed of construction, while timber's exceptional thermal insulation properties will enable them to create homes and buildings that consume less energy. When you add in the wider positive economic, biodiversity and community impacts, it's obvious that one of the most effective ways to build a low carbon future is to start with Wood First. The Wood First campaign has strong support from a wide range of stakeholders, the Programme for the Endorsement of Forestry Certification (PEFC UK) and Confederation of Forest Industries: promoting forestry and wood (CONFOR). This is why we believe that timber products, when sourced from forests managed and certified to our exacting standards, can be regarded as one of the world's most sustainable materials. "And this is why we support Wood First"
Alun Watkins, PEFC UK's National Secretary said: "As the world's largest forest certification organisation. PEFC is proud to support Wood First. It is such an important campaign which we hope will help drive demand for products from responsibly-managed forests. From our experience of working with local authorities, it is clear that a Wood First policy would help to complement their existing sustainable timber procurement strategies, as well as help them to meet their carbon reduction targets."
Stuart Goodall, Chief Executive of Confor: promoting forestry and wood, said: "It is about time we put Wood First in this country. The forest based industries play a vital role in the rural and wider economy in the UK yet they receive little attention or support.
We believe this campaign will help place our sector at the vanguard of the low-carbon economy, developing renewable, recyclable materials from a renewable supply chain."
Wood for Good has long been promoting a Wood First approach for architects and engineers through the CPD courses and other promotional work it runs. It has now started engaging several local authorities to discuss ways in which a Wood First rule could help them meet their sustainability objectives. If you would like to learn more or wish to support the Wood First campaign, visit www.woodforgood.com.