Why Choose Wood?

We have the potential to impact industry development and increased landowner income

 
 

Building codes

Innovative new wood products and building systems are coming into the marketplace that will allow designers, engineers and builders to expand the range of wood products used in buildings. It is known that nationally more than 70 percent of commercial buildings that could be built with wood according to local and state buildings codes are built with other materials such as steel or masonry. The 2015 International Building Code (IBC) has provisions for wood in nearly all commercial building use groups. Nevertheless, misconceptions about building code limitations on wood construction for commercial buildings still exist. The biggest deterrent to using wood is because i) the building owner (agency) does not ask for, nor is led to a choice of wood as a construction material because they are unaware of the choice, and ii) designers are unaware of the rules detailing how or when wood can be used successfully.

Economics

Sustainable communities in our rural areas depend on both the economic return from harvesting timber as well as having sawmill and other wood dependent industries operating to provide jobs, taxes, and other revenues. By promoting the use of locally grown and products and biomass in our states, we have the potential to impact industry development and increased landowner income from growing trees. Cost studies on buildings nationally have shown that when wood is used instead of steel and concrete, costs per square foot are reduced by $40 to $60 per square foot.

Environment

It is estimated that steel and concrete are responsible for approximately 8% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Using wood as a building material would allow for a decreased in these emissions, contributing to a healthier and more sustainable environment. We also know that 75% of the people will live in cities in 2040 and it will be necessary to provide sustainable housing to this population. In fact 47% of the greenhouse gases are related to the building industry. Changing from steel and concrete to wood will dramatically lower these greenhouse gas emissions due to construction and operation of the buildings. Therefore, wood buildings can significantly impact climate change in the long term.

Forest Health & Renewability

In the southeastern United States programs to support growing timber have been largely successful. While they may not have reached as many landowners as we would like, the amount of wood growing in the Southeast has risen significantly in last 40 years. Not keeping pace with that however was the market for wood from this ever-increasing wood resource base. There is a recognition that the time has come to begin insisting on wood products in order to utilize these sustainable resources. Because only by harvesting our forests can we keep them healthy and provide economic opportunities for the landowners. Therefore, the concept of asking for wood to be used is important to continue to maintain healthy, sustainable forests.