The Carbon Neutral Alternative
Wood products have many ecological advantages over non-wood materials, such as metal, cement and plastic. The manufacture of wood products is less energy intensive than alternatives. Wood is carbon-based, sequestering carbon from the air as it grows. A growing body of research supports the potential for emissions reductions through wood use by comparing emissions from forest to mill and adjusting for carbon storage over the life of wood products. Study results show significant carbon emissions reductions when wood products are used as substitutes for non-wood alternatives.
Wood, Architecture And Human Psychology
Research has increasingly confirmed that wood offers an instinctive connection and natural affinity. Exposure to natural, organic materials in the built environment can have positive effects on one’s sense of wellbeing and calm the parasympathetic nervous system. This has led to an increase in the use of wood and other natural materials as a key element of biophilic and “nature-inspired” design. Numerous studies have supported the stress-reducing effects of wood. One such study concluded: “The practical implication of this effect is that wood may be able to be applied indoors to provide stress reduction as a part of the evidence-based and biophilic designs of hospitals, offices, schools, and other built environments.”
The use of wood in a property’s design can positively influence its value. Real-estate brokers almost universally report that homes with hardwood flooring are easier to sell and command a premium. The majority of home buyers express a willingness to pay a premium for hardwood flooring. While not an inexpensive investment, the National Association of Realtors reported that homeowners net a return on investment of around 70% to 80% on their hardwood floors. According to the National Association of Realtors, for interior projects, the highest percentage cost recovered was from new wood flooring at 106% followed by hardwood flooring refinish at 100%. The benefit is not only financial: Seventy eight percent of surveyed consumers reported a greater desire to be home since completing a new wood flooring installation. Similarly, wood decks are attractive items for those selling their homes with wooden decking recouping more investment than composite ones.
For decks and flooring, experts recommend choosing a wood species with a high Janka rating (hardness or durability) to help minimize scratches, such as those caused by moving furniture. Izabal Wood has a selection of woods with some of the highest Janka scores in the world, sometimes referred to generally as ironwoods. These include tamarindo with a darker hue and selillón for those preferring a brighter tone.