TIMBER & CLIMATE CHANGE
We’ve all heard about The Greenhouse Effect and Global Warming, but did you know using timber can counter this?
The burning of fossil fuels produces carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions. But research has shown that the growing timber forest absorbs carbon that is released into the atmosphere.
As the tree grows it absorbs carbon from the atmosphere and stores it in perpetuity.
One cubic metre of growing forest contains 200 kilos of carbon.
It is estimated that trees absorb 25% of fossil fuels emissions of Co². Using one cubic metre of wood results in 0.8 tonnes of Co² sequestration.
So the extraordinary product we are associated with has a two-fold benefit: The forests where it originates function as carbon sinks, then once absorbed the products produced from
the raw material by the wood processing industry act as carbon stores after conversion.
What other building material product – Plastic, Steel, Concrete can emulate this?
On average, wood used as a substitute for concrete or steel will save a further 1.1 tonnes of CO2 creating a total saving of 2 tonnes a cubic metre.
In 1990 the forests were calculated to be absorbing nearly half the total carbon emissions produced by burning fossil fuels. Since then the area of forest has increased.
This is the only building material whose subsequent use in products and buildings stores and absorbs the carbon and is conducive to the concepts of The Kyoto protocol.
Source: The Finnish Timber Council 2008.
WOOD CAN BE RE-CYCLED
Wood is one of the only materials, which can be listed as Eco-Effective.
It is organic recyclable and 100% biodegradable.
All of the tree can be utilised.
When a tree is harvested, the branches and in some cases the needles remain on the forest floor to rot down and re-fertilise the ground.
The by products from the conversion of the tree, bark and some branches are converted into bio energy fuels or garden products.
The sawmilling industry targets 100% yield from the log, as it’s absolute.
The by products which cannot be used as solid timber also have 100% utilisation – the chippings/sawdust is further processed into particleboards for example.
Or it can be completely utilised into pellets for Bio Fuel heating plants.
Or it can be wholly converted into pulp and paper.
When wood products are removed from service they can be used again either in their current form without modification or further processed and converted into new items (which saves processing new material) with all the subsequent benefits.
As an organic material, it will biodegrade easily. What other material will do the same? A growing trend is to re-process waste wood into alternative energy thus reducing the demand for non-renewable fossil fuels such as oil, gas and coal.