When you think about sustainable building materials, wood doesn’t always come to mind. But a growing trend suggests that it could indeed be an important sustainable resource.
Wood comes from forests, so timber is technically a byproduct of deforestation, which in turn damages habitat and ecosystems. Wood is therefore not a clear choice for eco-friendly construction. With manufactured materials creating a large carbon footprint, however, building with wood is experiencing a resurgence. It is even being hailed as the only key renewable construction material.
A product’s sustainability is assessed by taking its entire life cycle into account, starting with the source. If timber is being sourced from primal forests, it does not appear to be sustainable. But in many highly populated areas, forests have been used for centuries, and changed in the process.
Forests in Central Europe have been cut down, regrown, and harvested again. For example, most German forests are secondary, meaning that it’s been cut down and regrown. What is used does not surpass what grows back, resulting in what many experts are applauding as sustainable forestry.