BTS Blog Post January (4)

Sustainability and cost saving benefits of using renewable material such as Timber

Timber is an environmentally friendly, renewable building material, with a much longer lifetime than most other wood products.  Timber has a lower carbon footprint compared to other commercial construction materials because of the minimal processing required, even after taking into consideration the Tanalith treatment needed for structural use.  

Trees absorb carbon dioxide through photosynthesis and lock it away as carbon, thus removing it from the atmosphere. This phenomenon, called sequestration, and can offset the processing and transportation energy associated with timber products. Therefore, choosing Timber products for your construction projects could help reduce carbon emissions. 

Decreasing the environmental impact of construction  

Recent studies have found that the life cycle emissions from a CLT framed building (without including sequestration) can be about 30-50% lower than a typical concrete framed building. When you include sequestration, the benefit can be much more significant. However, it is important to note that these results assume that 100% of the timber is diverted from the landfill at the end of its useful life. Research suggests that emissions from a CLT framed building could exceed the life cycle emissions from a typical concrete framed building, if the timber ends up in the landfill once it’s no longer useful. 


Timber products are renewable

If you consider the longer lifetime of a timber product, a significant sustainability advantage is that it is a renewable material.  A tree can be ready to harvest in 25 to 80 years, while the raw materials for bricks, steel and plastics are renewed over geological time – i.e finite in human terms.


Durable and easily maintained

Timber is a durable material, with some well-made wooden structures lasting for centuries, such as the timber frames of many Tudor buildings. It is also easy and cheap to maintain compared to other materials. Timber is a very strong, structurally secure material, suitable for up to eight storey buildings. It is also quite fire resistant, because it burns in a more predictable way, unlike steel which collapses haphazardly after a ‘flash point’ is reached.

Timber wood has beautiful aesthetic

Wood is a popular material that lends a homey, comforting feel to room. It also helps a structure to blend in with its landscape, particularly in rural areas.

Timber is versatile

Wood is also extremely versatile, different species of tree produce timber of differing colours, textures and functional qualities. Wood can be applied in an enormously wide range of products and projects, from structural frames to exterior cladding and joinery, and from decorative finishes to furniture.

Timber material is quick and easy to assemble

Timber-framed buildings are far quicker to erect than brick or stone buildings. This saves time and money for both home and office property owners. Carpenters are typically more affordable than other skilled trades such as bricklayers, which brings down the project cost even further.

Timber provides good insulation

A timber frame allows more space for insulation than a brick building, and wood itself is also thermally insulating.  A better insulated home requires less energy to heat and cool, which reduces living expenses for occupants, while decreasing fuel emissions over the lifetime of a home.

Timber from demolished structures can be salvaged

While only 35-45% of a log is suitable for large pieces of sawn timber, other parts of these logs can be used for a wide range of lower value products such as small wooden products, fencing, fibreboard, OSB, wood fuel or even sawdust for animals.  Used Timber material can also be salvaged from demolished buildings or structures, to be restored or reconditioned for use in future projects.

Wood can be safely composted or burnt as fuel. Although burning wood is not always ideal as it releases its stored carbon into the atmosphere, the emitted carbon is equal to what the living tree originally absorbed.  If the wood fuel is used in place of fossil fuels, the net effect is good for the climate. 

Timber wood is non-toxic

Treating wood with toxic chemicals is not strictly necessary and in its natural state wood is completely non-toxic.  With careful specification of durable timber, wood can often be used untreated. Advances in green chemistry mean more non-toxic glues and preservatives are being developed all the time. Conventional chemicals have been improved in recent years so off-gassing is now minimal.

Timber regulates internal humidity

As an organic material, wood is a natural humidity regulator which absorbs or releases moisture according to how humid or dry the environment is. This can have a subtle beneficial effect on internal air quality and health.

Our trained staff can assist you with competitive pricing and advice for your next project.  Get in touch with us today, to enquire about our Tanalith or untreated Timber material.




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