In the world of architectural design and construction, the choice of building materials plays a pivotal role, influencing the aesthetic appeal and a structure’s sustainable commitment and functional aspects. With the growing emphasis on sustainability and reducing carbon emissions, staying well-informed and possessing the knowledge to design and build with sustainable materials has become more crucial by the day.
According to The Institution of Structural Engineers, the building and construction industry is responsible for 40% of annual carbon dioxide emissions. Choosing appropriate building materials represents the first step in decarbonizing the building and construction sectors. The global popularity of using renewable, biogenic building materials is rising due to high sustainability awareness. A building product’s embodied carbon accounts for all the carbon emissions released throughout the product’s entire supply chain and life cycle. When opting for a building material, consideration should be given to all factors influencing carbon emissions throughout its entire life span.
Beginning as raw material, wood functions as a carbon sink, actively storing carbon dioxide from the environment. Contrary to the prevailing belief that harvesting trees disrupts the ecosystem and diminishes the photosynthesis process, wood remains a carbon sink even after being harvested. The regrowth of trees following harvest plays a crucial role in sustaining and balancing the ecosystem. Throughout the regrowth process, trees absorb carbon from the atmosphere. In addition, when forestry is managed sustainably with a focus on biodiversity, the diversity of the ecosystem provides an environment for microorganisms to thrive. These microorganisms actively contribute to soil restoration and enhance the productivity of emerging forests. Consequently, the soil gains capacity as a carbon store, effectively mitigating carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere.
A significant factor influencing the embodied carbon of a building product is transportation. Arup’s Embodied Carbon report highlights that the logistics involved in transporting raw materials to the factory contribute to 8-10% of the embodied carbon while transporting the finished product to the construction site accounts for 50-55%. The sourcing of materials holds paramount importance in determining the embodied carbon of building materials, impacting manufacturers and the decisions of architects and builders.
Timber stands out as one of the most natural construction materials, boasting lower carbon intensity in manufacturing, transportation, and construction than synthetic or man-made alternatives. Timber continuously contributes to regulating carbon emissions throughout its lifecycle. It plays a pivotal role in attaining a net-zero balance. Opting for locally sourced, sustainably harvested wood products is an additional catalyst for advancing the global pursuit of a sustainable future.
Sylva™ Thermally Modified North American Red Oak
Dedicated to fostering a sustainable future, reSAWN TIMBER co. is committed to offering responsibly sourced wood products without compromising structural integrity or aesthetics. The Sylva product line embodies this commitment, showcasing a domestic species harvested from FSC©-Certified, polyculture forests in Pennsylvania, where reSAWN is based. Locally sourced North American Red Oak minimizes transportation-related carbon emissions, aligning with eco-friendly building practices. In the architectural design and construction stages of a project, opting for building materials sourced and produced domestically significantly contributes to minimizing the environmental footprint associated with construction projects.
Contact us to speak with a reSAWN TIMBER co. specification consultant about utilizing a domestic wood species for your next project.