Why is Wood a good Material

Why is wood a good material

Wood is a certainly a very versatile material – easy to work with yet resistant when adequately protected and cared for. The production process of wood is also carbon-lean, which means the carbon footprint of wood-based products is relatively low, compared to alternatives such as plastic and metal products.

Wood’s value lies in its beauty, strength, flexibility and practicality. It can be easily cut, carved, planed, milled, bent, joined, glued, nailed, bolted, laminated, spliced and weathered.

It can be part of a load-bearing structure, finished material, or exterior cladding. Wood is easily adapted as part of a building structure, inexpensive to reused or recycled. Wood construction has long been used for energy-efficient design and provides some of the world’s most affordable and comfortable housing.

Wood as part of affordable, prefabricated and low-carbon construction

Wood can be a great alternative to other more carbon-intensive materials. It is well suited to rapid all-season prefabricated construction that is quieter, cleaner, lighter to transport and saves time. This means less noise and disruption in dense urban settings during construction projects.

Wood materials can make building more energy-efficient. Wood construction is economical and convenient. Wood material can often be locally sourced and manufactured. Its smaller environmental footprint means it can meet the anticipated regulatory requirements for buildings to achieve carbon targets. ​This combined with its lighter weight can reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emitted during transportation to construction sites. This reduction in weight lessens the need for more costly foundation work and in some cases, in poor soil conditions, timber buildings can be built taller than steel and concrete.

The benefits of wood beyond cost savings and design efficiencies

Wood has less embodied energy, reduces air and water pollution, and has a smaller carbon footprint, when considered over its lifetime – from the harvest of raw materials through manufacturing, transportation, construction, disposal or recycling. Wood construction materials can help maximize a building’s energy efficiency.  Building with locally sourced wood can also support communities, jobs and the economy.

Wood building materials as insulation

Wood is a natural insulator due to its structure. The dead cells in wood have plenty of air pockets that trap air bubbles. Wood is 1770 times better than aluminum at insulation; it is 400 times better than steel and 15 times better than concrete and masonry. Wood reduces cost related to cooling and heating a building.

The strength of wood as part of building construction

Some kinds of timber are known to be 20% percent stronger than steel when their weight is accounted for. This type of wood is up to 5 times stronger than compressed non-reinforced concrete.

The durability of wood

There are many historical structures consisting of mainly wood materials. Wood is a highly durable material suitable for both residential and commercial buildings. When properly maintained, wood can last for hundreds of years, while modern wood preservatives extend this lifespan even further.

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.

 

Sources:

https://www.naturallywood.com/wood-performance/value-versatility/
https://www.billwarch.com/blog/wood-a-versatile-material-in-residential-building/

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.

 

Sources: 


https://www.designingbuildings.co.uk/wiki/Sustainable_Timber_in_Construction

https://environmentalsystemsresearch.springeropen.com/articles/10.1186/s40068-018-0109-x

http://www.koruarchitects.co.uk/choose-sustainable-timber/#:~:text=Sustainable%20timber%20has%20the%20lowest,processing%20compared%20to%20other%20materials.