High on the scale of “green building products” available, Western Red Cedar is one of the most versatile.
As consumers become more and more aware of their environmental footprint, their decision-making process in building materials is changing. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be challenging to determine a particular product’s total environmental impact.
While many building products tout that they are made from recycled materials or are “green” in some way, there are many things to consider when selecting a product. One must consider the energy used to manufacture it, the emissions that are created
during the manufacturing process, as well as how the product will be disposed when its life cycle is complete.
Because of its versatility, Western Red Cedar is used in various residential and commercial building projects, both inside and out. It is available in stress grades for construction, as well as finishing grades in wide variety of lengths, widths, thicknesses and textures. It has high insulation values, looks amazing, and is harvested from the world’s most sustainably managed forests.
And, when its life cycle is complete, Western Red Cedar building materials can be recycled and are 100% biodegradable.
In a 2007 study conducted by Forintek, Canada’s leading forest products research organization, Western Red Cedar decking and siding outperformed man-made materials, used less energy overall, and had a lower impact on the environment, including global warming potential, acidification potential, ozone depletion, and human particulate (respiratory) effects. The only criteria in which it was not a leader, was on Western Red Cedar siding. But, that finding can be traced directly back to the use of paint on the siding, not the natural characteristics of Western Red Cedar itself. Therefore, the consumer would have the ability to improve this rating positively by the choice they make in their paint or stain.
In North America, there are many examples of historic buildings that Western Red Cedar has performed beautifully for hundreds of years and there are also many new buildings that have used reclaimed or repurposed Western Red Cedar lumber. Additionally, when Western Red Cedar trees are harvested, those trees are promptly replanted. For every three trees harvested, eight are planted in British Columbia. While other products increase greenhouse gases, these new cedar trees actually improve the environment; more trees mean more oxygen.
So, when selecting building materials to use in your next project, be sure to consider a natural wood choice; Western Red Cedar.
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