Plywood is Environmentally Responsible
World Leader in Forest Certification
Wood:Sustainable Building Series
Environmental FAQs


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Technical Questions on Plywood

Paul Jaehrlich P.Eng

Tel:(604) 981-4182
Fax:(604) 985-0342


Using Wood to Build Greener


Using Wood to Build Greener - CWC FACTSHEETS

WOOD, The Building Material of Choice!

Wood has been used as a building material for centuries. For so long, perhaps, that some people have begun to take its key advantages for granted. The truth is, however, that if wood could be reintroduced to the world today as a “new” product, everyone would be amazed by its qualities.
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WOOD and the Greening of Commercial Buildings

The growing interest in sustainable building design and construction has seeded many green building programs whose initial focus has been on commercial and multi-residential buildings. The goal of these programs is to reduce the impact these buildings have on the environment by encouraging energy efficient, responsible choices in the design and build process.
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The objective of green building programs is to stimulate improved environmental performance of buildings. There are a number of voluntary green building programs in Canada that address several environmental issues, but because of concerns about greenhouse gases and their effect on climate change energy conservation is a primary focus. The primary model used today to meet objectives of energy conservation and healthy indoor environment is the R-2000 program, which was launched in 1984 by the Canadian Home Builders’ Association and Natural Resources Canada (NRCan). R-2000 homes typically use 30% less energy than non-R-2000 homes and are built to conform to strict standards for energy efficiency.
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Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is a “performance-based” approach to assessing the impacts building choices have on the environment. LCA quantifies the overall effects a product, process or activity has on the environment over its lifetime. This includes all activities from material extraction/harvesting through manufacturing, transportation, installation, use, maintenance, and fi nal disposal/re-use.
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Embodied Energy of WOOD Products

Currently, about one-third of energy usage in the developed world goes towards heating, cooling, lighting and the operation of appliances in non-industrial buildings; so it is reasonable that the central goal of sustainable design is to minimize the energy required to heat, cool and illuminate buildings. But what about the amount of embodied energy in the building and the impact this has on the environment? The issue of energy consumption is so central that other sustainability issues, such as embodied energy, are almost overlooked.
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WOOD Products and Carbon Sequestration

The burning of fossil fuels produces air pollution and carbon dioxide (CO2), which is a principal greenhouse gas. Scientists report that greenhouse gas emissions are a signifi cant cause of global warming, which is expected to increase the earth’s temperatures and change weather patterns. Trees, during their growth phase, draw carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, release oxygen back to the atmosphere, and use the carbon to produce wood and leaves. Through this process, trees lock away or “sequester” large quantities of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Wood building products have an important role to play with respect to climate change policy and programs, since the use of wood helps mitigate the effects of climate change by reducing greenhouse gasses through carbon sequestration.
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WOOD and Building Occupants

Buildings can signifi cantly infl uence the well being of people. There is evidence that suggests that the incorporation of natural elements, such as wood and sunlight, can have a positive impact on worker productivity and patient recovery. Because of its warmth and natural attributes, wood generates positive feelings. This, in turn, contributes to a person’s overall sense of well being resulting in better performance outcomes.
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Durability can mean many things when it comes to buildings (quake resistance and moisture resistance to name just two), but in the context of sustainability “durability” can refer to the length of time a building product or system continues to fully meet its intended end use. Durability and longevity are important parameters of sustainable design and construction. Sustainable design endeavours to reduce the impact that buildings have on the environment. One way to achieve this goal is to extend the life cycle of building products and systems. This is accomplished by using durable materials in the right locations and by employing sound maintenance practices.
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Certified WOOD Products

Sustainable building design is linked to sustainable forest management practices. Wood is the major structural material used in over 90% of North American housing. That is one reason why it is imperative to ensure that this national treasure will be there for future generations. The Canadian forest products industry is a leader in sustainable forest management practices and Canada has maintained 90% of its original forest cover— more than any other country. Sustainable forest management (SFM) certifi cation programs have been growing rapidly in Canada and elsewhere in recent years. These programs respond to a variety of interests and values. The SFM certifi cation audit is appealing to producers and customers alike because it provides customers of Canadian forest products with an independent assurance that forest management planning and practices promote SFM. Likewise the chain-ofcustody audit tracks the forest product from the originating certified forest through to the end user.
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WOOD Survey on Green Building in Canada

In 2004, the Canadian Wood Council undertook a survey to gauge Canadian stakeholder perceptions about green buildings and sustainable development. The survey was sent to 285 targeted individuals and organizations and resulted in 160 responses, a response rate of 56%. Survey respondents included architects, engineers, builders, all levels of government, and associations.
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