Comfort, Security, Versatility
Homeowners throughout North America have long recognized the benefits of wood frame construction. And in today's environmentally conscious marketplace, wood is emerging as the natural choice for homebuyers who want to minimize the ecological impacts of their purchasing decisions.
Wood is the only building material that is renewable – naturally! Recent studies by scientists at the Athena Sustainable Materials Institute show that wood uses less energy to manufacture and produces less pollution over the course of a building's life cycle than steel or concrete. Wood ranks highest in all aspects of environmental performance.
Life Cycle Impacts of Alternative Building Systems
The Athena Research †
ENERGY USE Wood frame buildings have the lowest energy use. The concrete option uses 1.7 times the energy needed for wood, while steel buildings require 2.4 times the energy.
GREENHOUSE GASES Wood designs have the lowest greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1.45 times more for steel, and 1.81 times more for concrete.
AIR POLLUTION Wood buildings produce the least air pollution, compared to 1.67 times more for concrete and 1.42 times more for steel.
SOLID WASTE Wood designs produce the least solid waste, taking into account manufacturing and on-site construction waste. In contrast, concrete produces 1.96 times and steel produces 1.36 times more solid waste.
ECOLOGICAL RESOURCE USE Steel and concrete are both more damaging to the environment, having 1.16 times and 1.97 times greater per unit impact on the environment, respectively, than wood.
† The Athena research was pioneered in Canada by Forintek Canada Corp., and funded by the Government of the United States and the Government of Canada, in addition to many private sector stakeholders.