"One of the best ways to address climate change is to use more wood, not less. Wood is simply the most abundant, biodegradable and renewable material on the planet."
Timber is more than naturally beautiful and versatile, it continues to store carbon long after the tree is harvested. Up to 50% of timber’s dry weight is carbon.
Throughout history, people have used wood for many reasons and enjoyed its beauty, workability and practicality. Today, as we transition to a low carbon economy, the advantages of wood are increasingly making it the material of choice for a growing range of applications.
Vigorously growing trees act as a sink and absorb CO2 (carbon dioxide) from the atmosphere. Trees also have the ability to store carbon in their wood fibres (known as carbon sequestration) until fire or decay releases it back into the atmosphere.
As forests get older they reach a state of carbon equilibrium – the carbon they capture each year equals the amount they release through decay. As a result, harvested and regenerated forests capture more carbon from the atmosphere than forests that are not harvested.
The fact that timber is a renewable resource means that after harvesting, forests can be regenerated and harvested again and again. The growing, harvesting and regeneration cycle continues and therefore carries on removing carbon emissions from the atmosphere whilst providing an environmentally-friendly product.
Timber insulates 15 times better than concrete, 400 times better than steel and 1,770 times better than aluminium, and is more efficient at heating and cooling. (Forestry Commission England, www.forestry.gov.uk/england)
Far less carbon emissions are produced in the manufacture of timber products than other building materials. By building a house in timber the carbon emissions saved, compared to other materials, are equivalent to running a car for seven years. (Forestry Commission England, www.forestry.gov.uk/england)
Timber is unique among building materials because it continues to store carbon long after the tree is harvested. Up to 50% of timber’s dry weight is carbon. (Wood products & greenhouse gas impacts, www.naturallywood.com)
Timber is a renewable resource. After harvesting, replanted forests provide more carbon storage and oxygen generation.
At the end of its life, timber products can be deconstructed and reused to make other products such as furniture. In this way, the timber continues to store carbon indefinitely.