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What's GREEN About Pressure Treated Lumber?

Posted 6 April 2009 7:30 PM by dgauthier@ufpi.com

 

When you think of sustainable building products what sort of products come to mind? Solar panels? Super-efficient insulation? Naturally. But when you consider the total life cycle analysis - the true measure of a product's greenness - you find wood measures up better than just about anything. An especially sustainable product choice for an exterior project is pressure-treated lumber.
 
Treated lumber makes a positive environmental impact in many ways:

Less energy consumption - Using treated lumber products, instead of materials like plastic and steel, aids in the fight against global warming. When you compare the total energy costs of different kinds of building materials - including the costs to acquire the raw material, transport it, process it into useful product and then actually use it - wood far outshines its competition.

Saves trees - Yes, You read that right. Because it can stay in service for decades, using pressure treated lumber extends the wood resource. In North America, the use of pressure treated wood saves millions of trees from harvest each year. Plus, the process of making steel and plastic involves extraction of non-renewable resources, while trees are renewable, sustainable and abundant.

Recyclable - Once taken out of service, pressure treaded wood can be reused as landscaping, garden edging, steps or many other popular projects.

What about the state of today's forests? Today the U.S. has 750 million acres of forestland. Forest inventory, the number of trees still standing after mortality and harvesting, increased by 49% between 1953 and 2006.

Every day more than 1.7 million trees are planted in the U.S. – 4 trees per person per year. There are 12 million more acres of forest in the U.S. today than there were 20 years ago.

Pressure-treated lumber products are produced from plentiful, fast-growing trees from managed forests, not old-growth or rain forests. The process used to treat one brand, ProWood Micro CA, is the first to gain Environmentally Preferable Product (EPP) status as certified by Scientific Certification Systems (SCS). SCS is a third-party certification services and standards development company. EPA guidelines require that such products have reduced impacts on human health and the environment when compared to other products that serve the same purpose.

Advancements in technology are causing pressure-treated lumber to be less green in hue and more green in application. 

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