Wood is the most sustainable building material available. As a raw building material, wood’s merits are extensive and wood creates far less carbon dioxide emissions than competing building products, and the sustainability movement and green building initiatives have been adopted into several model building codes and national standards. Treated wood preserves wood against termite attack and fungal decay, lengthening its serviceable life and extending the benefits of using wood even further.
- Wood is the only naturally renewable building material and it is documented that for decades forest growth in North America has exceeded forest harvest.
- Advancements in wood product manufacturing technology continue to improve wood's sustainability after it is harvested.
Treated Decking LCA (Life Cycle Assessment)
The environmental impacts associated with the production, use and disposal of ACQ-treated decking and composite decking is the topic of a new life cycle assessment (LCA) report from the Treated Wood Council. The six-page document, “Conclusions and Summary Report on an Environmental Life Cycle Assessment of ACQ-Treated Lumber Decking with Comparisons to Wood Plastic Composite Decking”, notes the benefits of using treated lumber decking in terms of energy and resource use, lower environmental impacts during its manufacture plus the recoverable energy from out-of-service wood products. Click here to read the report.
“This report goes a long way in defining the merits of using treated Southern Pine decking over composites,” comments Richard Kleiner, SFPA’s senior director of treated markets. “This is an impartial, in-depth study following ISO 14044 standards,” he adds.
This report is now posted on the home page and several inside pages of SouthernPineDecks.com.
It is also available for download from the Publications, Pressure-Treated and Garden & Outdoor Living pages of SouthernPine.com.
Marine Pilings LCA (Life Cycle Assessment)
Similarly, the Treated Wood Council has recently completed a life cycle assessment (LCA) of the environmental impacts associated with the national production, use, and disposition of treated wood, concrete, galvanized steel, and plastic marine piles using the same life cycle assessment methodologies (per ISO 14044 standards.)
The results for treated wood marine piles are very similar to those of ACQ-treated decking, where less energy and fossil fuel are used in production, and less green house gases are generated during the lifespan. Click here to read the report.
To ensure forest sustainability, wood products from certified forests should be specified and there are several certification systems in place in North America:
- The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international system covering forest management practices and the tracking and labeling of certified products and paper products with recycled content.
- The Sustainable Forestry Initiative® Program (SFI) is a sustainable forest management standard targeting large industrial operations in Canada and the United States.
- The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) is a national standard for sustainable forest management and tracking and labeling certified material covering operations in Canada.
These certification programs each promote principles, objectives and measurement criteria that form the basis of global sustainable forest management.