Environmental Benefits of Wood Products
Wood: a sound choice for the environment
Wood grows naturally; it is renewable, recyclable and has a low environmental impact compared with other building materials. In fact, this is the only truly environmentally friendly material.
In Canada and Quebec, the wood comes from forests managed according to the principles of sustainable forest management. This ensures that forestry practices maintain a balance between different forest values, including water quality and soil, the habitat of fish and wildlife, biodiversity and the use for recreational purposes for communities. In addition, sustainable forest management practices mean that forests are harvested legally and managed to meet the needs of society for forest products in the long term.
Wood is also a practical way to fight against climate change because the use of wood products can help reduce the carbon footprint of the built environment. Moreover, several life-cycle analyses have repeatedly confirmed that the use of wood provides better results than steel or concrete regarding embodied energy and water pollution. These studies take into account the environmental impacts of materials throughout the life cycle, from extraction or harvesting of raw materials, processing, transportation, installation, use, maintenance, recycling up to disposal.
Also, the wood products industry reduced its waste by optimizing sawing and using wood chips and sawdust for the production of paper and composite products or wood pellets. In North America, all producers of the wood industry can use 99% of each harvested tree.
Finally, recovered wood products after the demolition of a building can be reused or recycled without further processing to manufacture value-added products such as panels, insulation or wood pellets.
Environmental Product Declaration
An Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) is a document providing key environmental information about a product or service, quantified with a life cycle analysis (LCA) conducted on a scientific basis. A EPD must follow the rules of the ISO 14025:2006 standard product, as well as the product category rules (PCR) established for the concerned products or services.
As its name suggests, the life cycle analysis describes the environmental impacts throughout the life of a product or service from its initial production to its use. In some cases, such as certain wood products, the analysis is done for all stages from harvesting through to when the finished product is ready to leave the manufacturing facility.
Download wood product EPD’s
- North American Softwood Lumber
- North American Wood I-Joists
- North American Glue Laminated Timbers
- North American Softwood Plywood
- North American Laminated Veneer Timber
- North American Oriented Strand Board
- Typical Eastern Canadian Pre-finished Solid Strip Hardwood Flooring
- Eastern Canadian Hardwood Lumber
Download wood product Transparency Briefs