Growing and using wood has numerous, often interrelated environmental benefits.
Sustainably sourced tropical timber from sustainable forestry is arguably the most renewable manufacturing and construction material we have.
It also performs well in Life Cycle Analysis (LCA). This is the study of a materials’ cradle to grave carbon and wider environmental performance. It looks at every aspect of the journey from sourcing, through transport, processing, end-use, maintenance, recycling, repairability and final disposal. And sustainably sourced tropical timber scores highly at every stage of analysis. Click to download the Summary or the complete report (Dutch only) comparing bikebridges and the executie summary and infographic of the LCA study of sheet piling.
Effectively managed, wood processing generates virtually no waste. Even the smallest wood chips can be reused, recycled or finally serve as ‘biofuel’ to produce heat and/or power, with the latter employed to generate electricity or propel vehicles, even aircraft.
Of all building materials, wood requires least energy for transport and processing. It is also one of the few that fixes significant quantities of the prime greenhouse gas CO2, thus reducing atmospheric concentration. CO2 is absorbed as trees grow, then stored in the finished building structure, joinery, interior fittings or furniture, potentially for generations. In this way, using sustainably sourced tropical timber can contribute directly to mitigating climate change. Even better, where wood substitutes materials that require more energy to produce, transport and process, even more CO2 is saved. Click to download report ‘tackle climate change, use wood’.
Forests are also among the most varied and richest of habitats for both flora and fauna. They are the seedbed for global biodiversity, much of which is yet to be explored, analysed and its environmental significance truly understood.