We love timber and the many benefits it has when used as a building material over other alternatives. We wanted to help you understand some of these benefits through the production process from harvesting to making our timber panels and what happens to the timber at end of life. Work your way through the process below;
Part 1: Harvesting
The timber production process begins before any trees are cut down. Through the process of photosynthesis trees take carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air and water from the ground. In the process of converting it into wood and storing the carbon, they release oxygen (O2) into the air. This carbon remains ‘locked up’ for the life of the wood.
Raw materials are harvested from sustainably managed forests and transported to the mill for processing. New trees are planted to replace those trees harvested and continue the cycle.
Part 2: Milling
At the mill each log is processed to achieve maximum yield. No two logs are alike, so the logs are cut to get as many boards out of the log as possible. Only about 50% of the log becomes lumber, but nothing goes to waste. Bark is recycled and used in landscaping. Wood chip is turned into paper, cardboard, chipboard, furniture and other items. Sawdust is used to power kilns and converted into bio-fuel pellets.
The boards are then sorted into board sizes and stacked in preparation for the drying process.
Part 3: Drying & Processing
The green timber is then dried in kilns or air dried to lower the moisture content which helps to reduce shrinkage. Seasoned timber is then treated, graded and processed ready for sale.
Timber that has been sourced from a certified sustainable forest and processed according to the standards is stamped to show customers that they are buying certified sustainable timber.
Did you know 50% of the dry weight of timber is carbon? A timber framed house can store approximately 7.5 tonnes of carbon, while a steel framed house emits approximately 2.9 tonnes of carbon.
Part 4: Making Timber Panels
After the dressed timber leaves the mill it is transported to the customer (retailers, manufacturers, builders, etc.). In our workshop the timber is cut to size and custom made into prefabricated panels according to client’s specifications before being installed on site.
Wood products used in buildings store carbon for their entire life cycle reducing greenhouse effect.
People also experience increased health and wellbeing when exposed to timber products. A recent report commissioned by Planet Ark found that exposure to wood products and interiors created similar health benefits to those created by spending time in nature.
Part 5: End of Life
At the end of life timber can be recycled into woodchip, mulch and new particle board among many things. Some timber can be reused in pallets as well as in building, furniture making, landscaping and agricultural uses. Timber can also be burnt to recover energy which helps to reduce industry reliance on fossil fuels. Timber omits far fewer greenhouse gas emissions than typical alternatives. Any timber that cannot be reused, recycled or processed into renewable fuel is disposed to landfill. Wood in landfill continues to store carbon, with more than 95 per cent of the carbon in wood remaining stored after being buried for 30 years in landfill.
Part 6: Summary
When sourced responsibly, timber is one of the only building materials that contribute to the long-term reduction of carbon emissions: positively addressing climate change.
Wood is durable, a natural insulator, structurally strong and fast and efficient to build with. When used in long-lived applications it stores carbon for the long-term, it is renewable and it has a lower embodied energy and can be cheaper than many other building materials.
Wood is also good for our health and wellbeing and is naturally beautiful making wood the obvious choice for your next project.