Washington wood is a green building material

2017-07-21 Ashley Bach

A new article in the Seattle Times highlights the environmental benefits of Washington's working forests and the use of wood as a building material. 

Grown by the sun and nature, wood has a lower carbon footprint than other building materials such as concrete and steel. By using less energy-intensive materials, we can lower our carbon emissions and help address threats from global warming.

Healthy, growing trees remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, store carbon in tree biomass and release oxygen back into the air. When sustainably harvested, the wood continues to store carbon in lumber and other wood products. This makes wood an eco-friendly and economical building material.

“The challenge is to strike a balance in how we meet the building needs of a growing population and being stewards of the land and our environment,” says Mark Doumit, Executive Director of the Washington Forest Protection Association. “The use of wood is a responsible choice for meeting those needs.” 

The forests all along the Pacific Coast are an invaluable sink for carbon and must be protected.

Oregon and Washington produce 30 percent of the nation’s softwood lumber. Together, forests and harvested wood products absorb and store about 25 percent of the region’s total emissions. Additionally, Pacific Coast forests provide 39 percent of all carbon storage in the U.S., the highest average carbon storage per acre in the United States.

Sustainable forestry increases carbon dioxide absorption from the atmosphere as a result of a continuous cycle of planting, growing and harvesting trees. Responsibly managed forests provide clean drinking water, a healthy climate, wildlife habitat and green jobs in rural economies.

...The forests in Washington that are producing wood for lumber adhere to strong forestry laws and third-party certified standards of sustainable forestry. This is important in fostering the eco-friendly way this building material is produced. Trees are grown with only natural fuel: sun, rain and soil, resulting in a lower carbon footprint than other building materials.