Using wood products that store carbon instead of building materials that require more fossil fuel to manufacture can help slow climate change. Trees grow with solar energy, and the little waste generated during processing is often used to meet the energy needs of the mill. At the end of their first life, forest products can be easily reused, recycled or used as a carbon neutral source of energy.
Studies show wood products are associated with far less greenhouse gas emissions over their lifetime than building materials such as steel, concrete, aluminum or plastic. For example, substituting a cubic metre of wood for concrete blocks or bricks results in a significant savings of 0.75 to 1 tonne of carbon dioxide.
Numerous international scientific studies demonstrate the environmental benefits of wood. A recent life cycle assessment compared the environmental impacts of homes framed with wood, steel and concrete, and found that the production of steel and concrete-framed homes generated 26% and 31% more greenhouse gas emissions, respectively, than their wood-framed counterparts.
The same study found that the production of the steel and concrete homes consumed 17% and 16% more embodied energy and released 14% and 23% more air pollutants than a wood-framed home.