Few building materials possess the environmental benefits of wood. It is not only our most widely
used building material but also one with characteristics that make it suitable for a wide range of
applications. It is efficient, durable, and useful wood products produced from trees can range from a
minimally processed log at a log-home building site to a highly processed and highly engineered
wood composite manufactured in a large production facility.
As with any resource, we want to ensure that our raw materials are produced and used in a
sustainable fashion. One of the greatest attributes of wood is that it is a renewable resource. If
sustainable forest management and harvesting practices are followed, our wood resource will be
6. WOOD AS A GREEN MATERIAL
Over the past decade, the concept of green building has become more mainstream and the public
is becoming aware of the potential environmental benefits of this alternative to conventional
construction. Much of the focus of green building is on reducing a building’s energy consumption
(such as better insulation, more efficient appliances and heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning
(HVAC) systems) and reducing negative human health impacts (such as controlled ventilation and
humidity to reduce mold growth). However, choosing building materials that exhibit positive
environmental attributes is also a major area of focus. Wood has many positive characteristics,
including low embodied energy, low carbon impact, and sustainability.
9. EMBODIED ENERGY
Embodied energy refers to the quantity of energy required to harvest, mine, manufacture, and
transport to the point of use a material or product. Wood, a material that requires a minimal
amount of energy-based processing, has a low level of embodied energy relative to many other
materials used in construction (such as steel, concrete, aluminium, or plastic).
The sun provides the energy to grow the trees from which we produce wood products; fossil fuels
are the primary energy source in steel and concrete manufacture. The U.S. wood products industry
is the nation’s leading producer and consumer of bioenergy, accounting for about 60% of its
energy needs. Solid-sawn wood products have the lowest level of embodied energy; wood products
requiring more processing steps (for example, plywood, engineered wood products, flake-based
products) require more energy to produce.
11. CARBON IMPACT
Forests play a major role in the Earth’s carbon cycle. The biomass contained in our forests and
other green vegetation affects the carbon cycle by removing carbon from the atmosphere through
the photosynthesis process. This process converts carbon dioxide and water into sugars for tree
growth and releases oxygen into the atmosphere.
A substantial amount of carbon can be sequestered in forest trees, forest litter, and forest soils.
Approximately 26 billion metric tonnes of carbon is sequestered within standing trees, forest
litter, and other woody debris in domestic forests, and another 28.7 billion tonnes in forest soils.
Unfortunately, deforestation in tropical areas of the world is responsible for the release of stored
carbon, and these forests are net contributors of carbon to the atmosphere. Tropical deforestation
is responsible for an estimated 20% of total human-caused carbon dioxide emissions each year.
12. Want big impact? Use big image.
Japanese tea service table and shoji screen made in Yellow-Cedar and Western Red Cedar by Kenji Matusmoto, Puducherry
14. NEW WOOD CONST. PRODUCTS
Wood as a construction material has gained favour with many builders and architects thanks to
new technologies. The most promising is cross laminated timber (CLT) — a process that resembles
plywood but on a larger scale. Cross laminated panels are made from industrial dried lumber
stacked together at right angles and glued over their entire surface. They are almost as strong as
steel, retain their static strength and shape indefinitely and allow the transfer of loads on all sides.
Panels are prefabricated based on the project design and arrive at the job site with windows and
doors pre-cut. CLT panels can be made up to 54 feet long and 10 feet wide and may contain 3, 5, 7 or
Architect Michael Green has completed a 6 story CLT building in Prince George, British Columbia
known as the Wood Innovation Design Centre.
16. NEW PRODUCTS NEED NEW TOOLS
CLT panels can be custom manufactured to meet the needs of a particular building design. But to
maximize the environmental benefits of building with wood, shouldn’t the structural framework
be made of wood, too? Reinhard Sauter. He is the founder and president of Sauter Timber in
Rockwood, Tennessee. His manufacturing facility uses a special 6 axis CNC machine to make CLT
timbers up to 20 feet long for the structure of wooden buildings. His customers buy enormous
Douglas-fir log or pine logs and have them trucked to the Sauter Timber facility to be turned into
CLT products. The finished beams have their ends milled precisely so they can be
assembled quickly and accurately when they arrive at the job site.
18. WHY NOT USE WHOLE TREES???
Whole Trees of Madison, Wisconsin, in cooperation with the Forest Products Laboratory of the U.S.
Department of Agriculture (USDA) Forest Service, has pioneered a new method of turning entire
trees into trusses, beams and joists in building construction. These are trees that the Forest
Service routinely harvests as part of its is routine thinning program and would be discarded
Whole Trees then dries and treats the trees to protect against shrinkage and pests. Pound for
pound as strong as steel in tension, the un-milled timber requires less than 2% of the energy
needed to make concrete and steel building materials.
19. Want big impact? Use big image.
A pre-fabricated home in SPF and furniture in Douglas-fir on display at 9 Wooden Homes,
21. WOOD IS GOOD FOR OUR HEALTH
A new study entitled “Wood – Housing, Health, Humanity” The study finds that “being surrounded
by wood at home, work or school has positive effects on the body, the brain and the environment
and can even shorten hospital stays through reduced recovery times.”
That’s especially important because people spend as much as 90% of their time indoors where
they cannot interact with nature on a regular basis. “The studies examining the effects of wooden
rooms and furnishings clearly demonstrate that the presence of wood has positive physiological
and psychological benefits that mimic the effect of spending time outside in nature,” Planet Ark
says. There is one more benefit to building with wood and it has nothing to do with structural
strength or carbon sequestration. Wood adds beauty to the interior and exterior of any building.
23. SUSTAINABLE INNOVATION IN INDIA
Way back in 1990, the central government took an initiative to set up the Building Materials &
Technology Promotion Council (BMTPC) to promote cost-effective, eco-friendly and energy efficient
building materials and technologies. Some of the natural materials that were considered by
BMTPC as potentially viable building materials are: 27 types of agro-industrial wastes, by-
products, residues, natural fibres, plantation timbers, including rice and wheat husk, bagasse
from sugarcane, coir, hemp etc., that are cultivated on a large scale in Indian farms.
Among these building materials, some of them stand out due to their durability, cost effectiveness
and local availability:
24. 1. BAMBOO CORRUGATED SHEETS
Bamboo has been intensively utilized as a building material since ancient times. However, due to
the scarcity of wood in recent years, bamboo has gained great importance as a source of
renewable fibre as a suitable alternative to wood. Particularly, bamboo is suitable for low cost
housing in earthquake-prone regions due to its sturdiness and versatility. This versatile forest
produce lends itself to be manufactured into mat-based industrial products such as bamboo mat
board, bamboo mat veneer composite, bamboo mat moulded products, bamboo mat corrugated
sheet for roofing, etc.
Among these, the bamboo mat corrugated sheet is an ideal substitute for asbestos and galvanized
steel sheets for roofing purposes. The Indian Plywood Industries Research & Training Institute
(IPIRTI) has developed this technique, which has proved to be a boon for the housing industries
among North Eastern states.
25. 1. BAMBOO CORRUGATED SHEETS
Since corrugated sheets are most versatile for roofing, development of corrugated sheets from
bamboo mats was taken up at IPIRTI, under a project sponsored by the BMTPC. Resin coated and
preservative treated bamboo mats into corrugated sheets. These sheets are environment friendly,
energy efficient and possess good fire resistance as well.
26. 2. PLASTIC BRICKS
The concept of plastic bricks first came up in Africa when in an experimental project financed by a
European Union, plastic bags were melted and transformed into bricks with a cement mold saving
both money and time. The plastic bags were used to fill the potholes in a way to solve the problem
of waste disposal. Plastic waste bricks are not only inexpensive but are also easily workable. The
waste plastic is collected from various sources and then diligently sorted. It is then washed and
sanitized. After that, it is shredded to cotton like consistency to form what is known as ‘plastic
cotton’. The shredded plastic is then mixed with mud and packed away as bricks.
Plastic bricks have been extensively used in highway, railway infrastructure and construction of
the roads. In India, this technology has been initiated on an experimental basis for railway
sleepers, but was stopped since the danger to fire is a major concern.
28. 3. BAGASSE PARTICLE BOARD
Bagasse is the residual pulp from sugarcane after the juice has been extracted. A considerable
amount of excess bagasse generated from sugar mills is left to rot or burnt as fuel for boilers. This
by-product is now being used as a substitute for wood in particle boards that are light and low
cost. Bagasse-based composites offer potential as the core material for laminated floors, replacing
high-density and expensive wood fibre board. As such, bagasse does not have enough strength and
water resistance to be used on its own. However, if it is made into a laminated particle board
with resin as a bonding agent and wax as dimensional stabilizer, then it can be used for laminated
floor and furniture applications.
30. 5 MOST POPULAR WOOD SPECIES
As the importance of using natural materials in construction gains momentum globally, wood
from sustainable sources is fast emerging as the material of the future. Indian consumers too
want to conserve their tropical forests and are sensitive to the environmental damage caused by
illegal logging. Therefore, there is a growing demand for certified wood to satisfy the increasing
demands of this sector. Wood certifications like PEFC and FSC help consumers identify that the
wood products being used are sourced from sustainably managed forests.
A world leader in sustainable forest management and producer of high-quality solid wood is
British Columbia (B.C.), Canada. Home to 10% of the world’s forests, Canada takes extraordinary
measures to manage its forests sustainably. By law all harvested areas must be regenerated.
31. 1. DOUGLAS-FIR
Douglas-fir is valued globally for its extraordinary strength-to-weight ratio. It is in great demand
for building and construction and its availability in large dimensions makes it an ideal choice for
post and beam construction and glue-laminated beams. It is also extensively used for
manufacturing wooden doors, windows, furniture and general millwork.
Intricate carvings and contemporary designs can be effortlessly created on this wood type. In
India, Douglas-fir is highly appreciated for solid wood doors.
33. 2. WESTERN HEMLOCK
Western Hemlock is the single most abundant tree species of British Columbia and offers a wide
array of applications. Extensively used in creating furniture and doors and windows, this non-
resinous species easily takes stains and finishes.
In India, solid wood furniture in Western Hemlock is in great demand. Clear panelling in Hemlock
also makes for extremely warm and inviting interiors.
34. Foyer table in Western Hemlock stained to a darker glossy shade
and produced by Ekbote Furniture, Pune
35. 3. Yellow-Cedar
Yellow-Cedar is a species unique to British Columbia and requires over 200 years to reach a
marketable size. Yellow-Cedar is one of the world's most durable woods with exceptional longevity.
The fine, even texture of Yellow-Cedar makes it ideal for carving.
In India, it has proven popular for door-frames, while a step up in grade is used in producing
artisan furniture and large format sliding doors and windows.
37. 4. WESTERN RED CEDAR
Western Red Cedar forms 8% of B.C.’s total growing stock and is one of the most valuable species
commercially. An extremely attractive wood with a rich mocha colour, it has high termite and
decay resistance with excellent dimensional stability.
The appealing colour palette, light weight and soft texture makes it suitable for various interior
applications as well. It is used in interior and exterior panelling and cladding. As it does not
splinter, it is the wood of choice for decking, outdoor pergolas and gazebos.
38. Carved solid wooden door in Western Red Cedar on
display at FII India’s office in Lonavala, Mumbai
39. 4. SPRUCE-PINE-FIR (SPF)
Three softwoods comprise the principal species in the Spruce-Pine-Fir (SPF) species group and
display similar characteristics. Spruce-Pine-Fir's strength, light weight, ease of handling and good
working properties have made it a popular wood for framing and all types of construction.
High performance combined with fine appearance makes it ideal for building wooden houses. SPF
is also used in India as a superior wood for flush door frames, furniture carcassing and modular
41. PRIVATE RESIDENCE, H.P., INDIA
This sprawling villa is perched at an altitude of 2286 meters and is in a seismic zone. The single-
story building has a simple post and beam wooden frame, built using Douglas-fir and is
constructed on top of a conventional concrete slab.
The entire roof structure, the vertical posts, trusses, purlins, joints and inner skin are all made
using Douglas-fir timber sourced from British Columbia forests. Two triangular skylights also in
Douglas-fir form an integral part of the roof structure.
45. FOREST CERTIFICATION IN INDIA
Forest Certification refers to two separate processes:
FOREST MANAGEMENT UNIT (FMU) certification is a process that leads to the issuing of a
certificate by an independent party, which verifies that an area of forest/plantation is managed
to a defined standard.
CHAIN OF CUSTODY (COC) certificate is a process of tracking wood products from the certified
forest to the point of sale to ensure that product originated from a certified forest.
46. FOREST MANAGEMENT UNIT
An internationally recognized forest management standard
Applicable to all types of forests worldwide, including natural forests and plantations
10 Principles and 56 Criteria, with locally developed indicators
Forest operators following the FSC requirements with the certificate can sell their products as
47. CHAIN OF CUSTODY
Confirm the FSC materials are kept segregated and document system is properly maintained
Audited annually by independent certification bodies
Required for all organizations that have legal ownership of the FSC certified products who want
-Process or transform FSC certified products
-Affix FSC Product Label to show its FSC status
-Pass on the FSC claim to the subsequent buyers through sales and delivery document
48. FOREST STEWARDSHIP COUNCIL
An independent, non-governmental, not for profit organization guided by its multi-stakeholder
Founded in 1993 after the 1992 UN Conference on Sustainable Development, by concerned
business representatives, social groups, and environmental organizations to promote:
socially beneficial, and