According to Planet Friendly Canada, a group of Canadian forest industry partners dedicated to sustainability, numerous life cycle assessment studies (LCA) worldwide have shown that wood products yield clear environmental advantages over other building materials at every stage. By substituting low impact wood products for materials such as concrete, which are responsible for high amounts of carbon dioxide emissions, significant amounts of greenhouse gas emissions can be avoided.
“The fact that wood is the only major building material that’s renewable and sustainable is just part of the picture,” says Dwight Yochim, national director of the WoodWorks program, which provides education and technical support to engineers and architects designing non-residential wood buildings. “Sustainably managed forests such as those in North America, and the products made from those forests, also have the potential to play a significant role in addressing climate change.”
As a tree grows, it absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere, using the carbon (C) for growth and releasing the oxygen (O2). “That’s as much as most people think about,” says Yochim. “But wood is about 50 percent carbon by weight and wood products continue to store this carbon indefinitely. In a building, for example, it’s stored for many decades. But wood buildings are also easily adaptable and it’s becoming increasingly common to see the wood reclaimed for other uses – so the carbon is actually kept out of the atmosphere considerably longer.”
(quote from Structure Magazine.org)