As green building has evolved beyond its initial emphasis on energy efficiency, greater attention has been given to the choice of structural materials and the degree to which they influence a building’s environmental footprint. Increasingly, wood from sustainably managed forests is viewed as a responsible choice—for a number of reasons. Wood grows naturally by harnessing energy from the sun, absorbing carbon dioxide and releasing oxygen.

Wood is renewable and a carbon sink, and outperforms other materials in terms of embodied energy, air and water pollution, and other impact indicators.

But what about the forest?

Learning Objectives – After this course, you should be able to:

  1. Evaluate the use of wood as a construction material in the context of long-term forest sustainability as well as attributes such as low embodied energy and light carbon footprint.
  2. Discuss forest sustainability measures such as biodiversity, soil and water quality, and harvest vs. net growth.
  3. Examine the concept that using wood in buildings provides an incentive to landowners to keep forested lands forested instead of converting them to uses such as urban development.
  4. Compare the carbon benefits of an unmanaged forest vs. a managed forest where timber is used for wood buildings

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