Wood: the ultimate green product
It’s renewable, sustainable, recyclable, local and much more
Wood is the ultimate “green” product — it’s renewable, sustainable, recyclable, grown locally, versatile, biodegradable and has a smaller energy, water and carbon life cycle footprint than other products. Increasingly, wood is being recognized in the architecture, engineering and construction communities as a green building product with important environmental advantages over other building materials.
What are the advantages of wood products?
- Wood is the only major building material derived from a resource that is both sustainable and renewable.
- Trees remove carbon from the atmosphere and store it in wood. As a result, about half the dry weight of wood is carbon, which remains sequestered in wood products used to construct buildings, and helps offset carbon dioxide emissions – a major contributor to global warming.
- About 99 percent of each log processed winds up in a usable product, reducing waste to near zero.
- Wood requires less energy and water to produce than other construction materials.
- Idaho wood products are made from timber that’s harvested sustainably. State forest protection laws mandate prompt replanting after harvest and require landowners to protect wildlife habitat and water quality, ensuring sustainable forests in perpetuity.
Click the image to watch a short Forest Fact Break about green building or click here.
Life Cycle Assessment
LCA is a scientific method for evaluating the environmental impacts of products. LCA considers the resources consumed and the emissions released during a product’s manufacture, use and disposal. LCA studies consistently show that wood products are better than alternative materials in terms of their environmental impacts. Wood is better for the environment than steel or concrete in terms of embodied energy, air and water pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
Wood, an ancient energy source, is garnering new attention. Mills have always been efficient users of the sawdust and chips created from their operations by burning them to create energy for the mill. Now even the small trees, limbs, and tops are being used as “biomass energy” for schools and residences. As dense forests are thinned and beetle killed trees are logged, the wood can be used for energy production, thus reducing reliance on fossil fuels.
Why is woody biomass is a triple win? Woody biomass:
- Restores forest health, fire resilience and wildlife habitat
- Helps meet Idaho’s energy needs with a renewable resource
- Provides jobs and help revitalize rural economies
FOREST FACT: It’s estimated that 8 million acres of Idaho’s forestlands need thinning and could provide woody biomass.
To learn about green energy and Idaho’s forest click here.