Is a timber framed household green or sustainable?

It is not uncommon to see claims in our industry..

Is a timber framed household green or sustainable?

It is not uncommon to see claims in our industry that timber frame buildings and the wall & roof panels utilized to enclose them are green and sustainable – but is this really the circumstance?  I assumed it would be exciting to glance a bit deeper into these inquiries to attempt to uncover the points.

The timber frame framework

A timber frame is designed from sound wooden, which is sustainable… appropriate?  Perfectly, not all timbers utilized for timber framing are necessarily sustainable.  Sustainable forestry, in an oversimplified way of talking, indicates that the quantity of wooden in the forest does not go down over time as a consequence of logging techniques, or a unique source will not be harvested to extinction.  It may go up or down in individual many years, but over time the source will be there in perpetuity.

When huge “free-of-heart-center” Douglas fir timbers are specified for a timber frame task, as is now common, these timbers will come from tremendous outdated progress trees, on Canada and America’s west coastline.   These trees are a minimal source – once they are total harvested, they are long gone forever.  A far more sustainable timber would be a youthful, smaller sized, possibly plantation developed Douglas fir timber, that is “boxed-heart” – this means a smaller sized and youthful tree can be utilized.

One more variable to take into account is the embodied electrical power in the timber, or the electrical power it takes to harvest, completely transform and transport the timber to its final location.  If a timber is harvested locally, squared up on a mill and utilized “green” (not dried), it has incredibly very little embodied electrical power.  A follow now attaining attractiveness is to have the timbers kiln dried in a special electrical power-intense kiln.  Incorporate this drying electrical power to the cost of transporting the west coastline timbers all over North The united states, and the embodied electrical power goes up promptly.  Not as significantly as steel or concrete perhaps, but a whole lot far more than community green timber.  We constantly really encourage our shoppers listed here in Quebec and Ontario to use community, green, boxed-heart timbers for their timber frame assignments.

Insulated wall and roof panels

A products that has turn out to be synonymous with timber framing is the foam based mostly worry-skinned panel utilized to type the walls and roof envelope.  Available in both EPS or urethane foam, the panel does a excellent work of insulating the household, so it is generally touted as becoming incredibly green.  Whilst it is accurate that decreasing electrical power use is element of a green household, working with petroleum based mostly merchandise is clearly not sustainable.  When you glance at the more substantial context and the amount of electrical power utilized by the petroleum industry, which include CO2 emissions, you have to query the green label it has been supplied.  Foam panels are also rather wasteful, as around twenty% of the walls panels will be lower out and set in a landfill as a consequence of window and door openings.

A far more sustainable insulation material would be cellulose, straw or even mineral wool.  Cellulose is designed from 85% recycled newsprint, and does a excellent work sealing walls and roofs from air infiltration.  Straw is an agricultural by-products, and also has a excellent R-worth.  Even mineral or rock wool, which technically arrives from non-sustainable minerals, can be designed from recycled iron slag, which is a by-products of iron and steel producing.

So if there is one concept to acquire from this write-up it is this: do your research. Do not constantly acquire the claims of manufacturers at encounter worth, as merchandise generally have unwanted characteristics that don’t get stated in advertising and marketing taglines.


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