Here are 10 reasons why sustainable timber is the best construction material, and why we should be looking at building off-site contemporary timber houses today
1. Natural material
Timber is one of the few natural building materials, which has a lot of advantages. Generally, timber is non-toxic, does not leak chemical vapour into the building and is safe to handle and touch. It also means that as timber ages, it does so naturally.
2. Ecology and sustainability
People have been building with timber for thousands of years. Timber is ecological and sustainable and a truly renewable building material. Timber is grown quicker than it is used. Most of the main timber supplying countries have long-standing policies to re-grow more timber than is felled. If new trees are planted to replace those harvested, timber will continue to be available. Timber is milled all over the world and is often used close to where it is produced. This promotes local economies and reduces the energy needed to transport materials long distances.
3. Low in production energy
It takes very little energy to convert the wood in trees to the timber used in building. This means that the embodied energy in timber is low. In fact it is the lowest of almost all common building materials.
4. A store for carbon
Timber is made from carbon drawn from the atmosphere. This carbon would otherwise be adding to the greenhouse effect. Using timber in buildings stores the carbon for as long as the building stands or the timber is used.
5. Offers great insulation
Timber is a natural insulator and can help reduce energy needs when it is used in windows, doors and floors. A timber frame allows more space for insulation than a brick building, and wood itself also has naturally thermally insulating properties. Of course, a better insulated home requires less energy to heat and cool, which typically means less fossil fuel use.
Wood also has better insulating properties than steel. Wood’s structure contains minute air pockets, which limit its ability to conduct heat and help to minimise the energy needed for heating and cooling our eco timber houses providing very energy efficient homes.
6. Energy efficient timber houses
Wood helps to minimise energy consumption in several ways. Life cycle of a product studies show that wood and timber frame houses significantly outperform steel and concrete.
7. Easy to work
Timber is versatile and can be used in a wide variety of ways. Being light, it is easy to install and can be worked with simple equipment. This reduces the energy needed for construction. Different species of tree produce timber of differing colours, textures and functional qualities.
8. No limits on design and size
Considering the relationship between using the material and the environment is very important when building a home. Using timber as the main building material is the right choice with its endless design possibilities, as well as unrivalled physical and technical properties for a timber frame home.
9. Quick build time
The speed of the build is quicker with timber. A timber frame can be partly pre-cut, modulated, and built to precision making build time much quicker than for a brick build. Time is also saved since less building debris is around to clear.
Timber-framed buildings are far quicker to erect than brick or stone buildings. A quicker build time clearly saves time and money for both domestic and commercial property owners. Building with timber is also a less specialised and expensive skill.
10. Durable and easy to maintain
Timber is a highly durable material. Some well-made wooden structures last for centuries. It is also easy and cheap to maintain compared to other materials, especially if you don’t mind it changing colour over time.