Wood is Carbon Neutral
Thanks to the work of our foresters, wood is a carbon neutral material. Healthy forests are net producers of oxygen through photosynthesis. Growing trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and separate the carbon and oxygen atoms. The oxygen is released back into the atmosphere, while the carbon is used to grow roots, trunk, branches and leaves. The carbon is then stored in the wood for the life of the tree and the products made from it.
In addition, natural wood products are among the most energy-efficient to produce, while making products from steel, aluminum, glass, concrete, and brick can require up to 126 times more energy to manufacture.
With hardwood, the manufacturing process is limited to running a saw blade and kiln drying. In comparison, the steel and concrete manufacturing processes consist of numerous procedures that are extremely energy intensive. And for both, unfavorable environmental consequences result from open pit mining and from the substantial fossil fuels expended and emissions generated in the processing of the raw materials.
Furthermore, advanced technology and manufacturing assures the least wood waste and efficient use of wood by-products. For example, tree bark becomes mulch and soil conditioners, sawdust is used for animal bedding or as fuel for boilers to operate dry kilns, and trimmings can be used for wood components and paper. No other material can compare.
Hardwoods for the Home - Beyond Sustainable
In our homes, hardwood products are some of the healthiest and cost-effective ones we could choose. They do not collect dust or allergens - which can be trapped in other materials - and environmentally friendly paints and stains can be used to complement any design scheme. In addition, hardwood products can be refinished and can last a lifetime. A solid hardwood floor, for instance, can last in excess of 100 years, while carpet would need to be replaced numerous times during that span.
At the end of their useful lives, hardwood products can be repurposed, used as a combustible fuel, or returned to the Earth, whereas synthetic and heavily-glued products like bamboo, will remain in a landfill almost indefinitely.
It's clear. There really is no better or natural choice for green building and healthy home environments than American hardwoods. And now, with the endorsement of the federal government, eco-conscious homeowners can confidently choose American hardwood flooring, cabinetry, and millwork for their homes.