Does wood have a lower carbon footprint than other materials?
Of the three primary structural materials used in construction, manufacturing lumber is the least energy intensive, followed by 100% recycled steel, concrete, and virgin steel. This accounts for wood’s low embodied carbon. Wood is also about 50% carbon by dry weight. When stored carbon is considered along with embodied carbon, many wood products have a negative CO²eq value when sourced from forests with stable or increasing carbon stocks.
Ok, but are there enough trees?
In short, yes. A 2021 study on the impact of long-term demand for wood products on U.S. forests, found that forest growth exceeded harvest levels — even in the most conservative scenario, using the lowest estimate of growth and the highest estimate of harvest volumes required to meet incremental demand for both lumber and mass timber in 2035.