Is Wood Sustainable?

When we think about how much wood is used in our everyday lives there’s no surprise that demand for it is booming. In fact, this demand is growing at twice the rate of population growth. Keeping up with this demand could lead to less sustainable forestry practices, pollution, and catastrophic community impact.

The good news is that much of the wood used for railroads, mines, and other industrial applications are hardwoods that can be harvested sustainably. Wholesale lumber companies also document the entire lifespan of lumber, ensuring that the process remains transparent.

So what makes lumber sustainable? Simply put; the harvesting process restores the ecosystem to compensate for deforestation. Sustainable lumber is highly regulated and every party involved in the harvesting process commits to the sustainability initiative.

Even beyond the harvesting process, wood is in and of itself an eco-friendly choice. It’s the only building material that’s renewable, it is durable and requires less energy to produce compared to concrete, it insulates better, it is recyclable and biodegradable… The list goes on and on. Consider this research:

“Study after study in Europe, North America, and elsewhere has shown that wood outperforms other products when considered over its complete life cycle. One study, conducted by the Consortium for Research on Renewable Industrial Materials (CORRIM) compared the environmental impacts of homes framed with wood and steel in Minneapolis and with wood and concrete in Atlanta – the framing types most common to each city. According to the report, the homes framed in steel and concrete would require 17 and 16 percent more energy respectively (from extraction through maintenance) than their wood-framed counterparts.”

If you’re looking to add another layer of sustainability to your next project, consider using one of these different types of wood.

Oak

White oak is strong and has natural waterproofing attributes, and is the most commonly used for cabinetry, flooring, and flooring around the house. It’s also used for bridges, wooden barrels, and boat construction. The grain of oak is prone to splitting and can be stained and easily sanded.

Maple

This is the wood that you want to show off. Wood paneling and doors made of maple can be polished but don’t tend to take stain well, and the wood is great for stair treads and railings. Here’s a fun fact: the grain in maple is actually the beginning of rot; kiln-drying preserves this grain while stopping decay.

Mahogany

Long been the top choice for furniture building, mahogany is also well-suited for outdoor projects like decking. It’s also used for commercial construction — railroad ties, marina docks, and high-traffic flooring are all best when maple is used in their installation.

Black Cherry

Black cherry wood is similar in structure to mahogany but costs less on average. It’s prevalent in household items, furniture, and even musical instruments. It grows throughout North America, making it abundant and renewable.

Pine

Pine is also widely available and because it grows faster than other options (like mahogany), it is a perfect sustainable choice. White pine is commonly used in building materials, while yellow pine is used in boat making.

If you’re looking to avoid wood types that aren’t sustainable, skip over exotic names like teak, wenge, merbau, and ebony. These woods are predicted to become extinct in our lifetime and are protected by regulations to prevent that. Obtaining these woods will likely be illegal, and will certainly not support sustainability.

One surefire way to know that your wholesale lumber is to work with local companies. Shortening the lumber supply chain means less impact on the environment and more impact on the local economy.

As a wholesale lumber brokerage operation, we purchase lumber from dozens of sawmills and suppliers around the country and facilitate direct mill shipments to our customers. Our network of sawmills allows us to be a competitive supplier of a wide range of hardwood and softwood products.

We understand the importance and necessity of honesty and integrity when conducting business, and we instill those values in the work we do daily. Whether it is railroads, mining, commercial, industrial, or residential, we have the experience and expertise to get you the exact lumber product you need when you need it.