Wood aside for being aesthetic pleasing when seen in exposed structures, its a renewable resource in which commercial and residential buildings should be mainly constructed of . In comparison to other building materials, such as concrete and steel, wood has the lowest “embodied greenhouse gas emissions.” [Embodied greenhouse gas emissions is the energy consumed by all of the process associated with the production of a building, from mining and processing of natural resources to manufacturing, transport, and production delivery.] Greenhouse gases include CO2, CH4, N2O. Steel framed house has 26 % more embodied greenhouse gas emissions than wood. Concrete has 31% more.
An issue that often arises is deforestation. However, what people don’t know is that in the US all wooden materials that earn the green building certification follow sustainable forestry practices. Programs like SFI, CSA, and FSC certified these products (links below). Wood is also very structurally sound. With advanced technology the amount of engineered wood products used in constructing commercial and residential buildings is increasing.
Aside from choosing wood as our main construction material, minimizing our effect on our surroundings while and after construction is vital in following the green building standards and are aspects that should be considered. We should aim to make structures energy efficient and harmless to the environment. As our cities continue to expand rapidly, it is critical that we make changes. Choosing wood as a prime material is a start.