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Building with Wood

By Sarah Stukalin, AMAST Content

While common in construction, wood can be a particularly difficult material to incorporate into a project. Despite these challenges, wood holds health, safety, and environmental benefits. Here are the many advantages of building with wood.

Reduced Carbon Emissions

Carbon emissions in the construction industry account for a large percentage of greenhouse gas emissions around the world. Responsibly sourced wood can help combat this, as it is naturally grown and removes carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. The wood can store and absorb the carbon, allowing it to remain there for the rest of the wood’s life until about fifty percent of the wood is carbon. Because of this, wood is one of the few construction materials that can help tackle climate change.

Health and Wellbeing

Studies show that wood has a decent amount of psychological and physiological health benefits. Wood has been proven to help workers remain less stressed and more productive, patients to heal faster, and students to learn better, as people tend to be calmer in spaces that contain natural elements. Integrating wood into the exterior of a project can drastically affect the wellbeing of the structure’s inhabitants.

Long-Lasting

Wood is a durable material for both commercial and residential buildings. It can last for a hundred years if properly maintained. Wood is resistant to heat, corrosion, pollution, and frost. The biggest threat to the durability of wood is termites, as termites expose wood to elements such as moisture and sunlight. However, with proper care to the wood, termites can be easily avoided.

Insulation

Wood acts as a natural insulator for a construction project, as it contains air pockets within its cellular structure. This makes wood a better insulator than concrete, steel, aluminum, and masonry. Integrating wood into a construction project will help greatly reduce the cost of cooling and heating a building.

Strong

Structurally, wood is incredibly strong. Compared to concrete and steel, wood has a twenty percent higher strength — to — weight ratio and is five times stronger than reinforced concrete in compression. Utilizing wood in construction ensures that a structure is sturdy and safe for its inhabitants.

Natural Aesthetic

When used properly, wood can be a beautiful added element to a project. Studies show that people find wood to be the most visually appealing construction material. Wood is also very versatile, as it can be treated, stained, and painted with little to no trouble.

Efficiency

Wood is a fast and efficient material to build with, as wood construction can occur year-round in most climates. Because mass timber construction components are usually pre-manufactured offsite, this provides a significant reduction in onsite construction time. An additional advantage is that unlike concrete, wood does not take time to set and dry, allowing for a quicker construction process.

Cost-Efficient

Wood is one of the most inexpensive construction materials to build with, as timber frames tend to be rather cheap. According to recent studies, timber buildings are ten to fifteen percent more cost-effective than other building materials, allowing for a builder to allocate funds elsewhere in the project.

Works Cited

The Benefits of Wood. (n.d.). Retrieved January 28, 2021, from https://makeitwood.org/benefits/#:~:text=Wood%20is%20a%20natural%20insulator%20due%20to%20the%20air%20pockets,heating%20and%20cooling%20a%20building.

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