Increasingly people are recognizing wood is the best environmental choice for buildings of all types from single family homes to hockey arenas and offices. Wood has long been the preferred choice for North American home construction, recognized for its aesthetic appeal, performance and versatility. Over 95% of North American homes are wood frame construction.

In today’s environmentally conscious world, wood maintains its preferred status with builders and homeowners. Wood is the only major building material that is renewable. Wood uses less energy and produces less air and water pollution than steel and concrete. It is the first choice of those who want to minimize the environmental footprint of a building.

Using a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), approach to evaluating different options for building construction demonstrates wood’s natural advantage. A LCA measures the impact of using different materials by looking at the environmental impacts at each stage in the lifecycle of a building product from resource extraction through manufacturing, transportation and installation and maintenance through to final disposal by quantifying energy and resource use and environmental emissions.

When the ATHENA Sustainable Materials Institute compared the environmental effects of an office building constructed of wood, concrete or steel, the wood building had the lowest total energy use, the lowest greenhouse gas emissions, the lowest air pollution index, the lowest solid wood waste, and the lowest ecological resource use index.

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