Here are some questions to ask so you can be sure you are making a well-informed choice for yourself and the environment.

 

  • Does the product use renewable resources? (Think forest products, or better yet, reclaimed timbers!)
  • What kind of energy is used to make this product?
  • How long will this product last?
  • If this product will need to be replaced, will it add to landfill toxicity? 
  • Are there potential health risks?

How can you have the biggest net positive impact on the environment while using expressive building materials?

In the stampede to embrace green building, the biggest factors which optimize good environmental stewardship have suffered neglect. Here are the most important factors to your success:

SMART goals

SMART is an acronym which stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely.

Setting an effective goal can be an art.

Tell me if you have ever fallen into this trap: You decide you want to accomplish something – let’s say for example, you want to improve your health.

So you make some changes and have stellar performance at first. You are hitting the gym five mornings a week, avoiding junk food, and getting to bed early.

But a month later your old habits have remained largely unchanged. Basically, it was too much, too fast and unsustainable. Ideal, but unrealistic.

Defining and setting your SMART goal is a key component which will help you achieve the most positive impact with your green building strategy.

RENEWABLE Wood is the only building material that can be used indefinitely through good forestry practices. Energy consumed across the life cycle is drastically less than other structural materials.

LESS ENERGY Wood has a cellular structure that allows for pockets of air, which keep heat conductivity to a minimum.

EFFICIENCY Trees store carbon as they grow and continue to hold it after it’s been harvested and used in a building.

Timber framing aligns with energy conservation by simply building with wood!

Wood is a renewable resource. Wood requires much less energy than other building materials  to transform from raw material to a functional building.

Wood buildings require much less energy to heat and cool. And lastly, wood serves as an excellent carbon sink. Wood is good!

The truth about Green Building basics and the longevity of timber framed buildings is not very exciting. Products such as solar power and on-demand water heaters are eye catching, and promoted with new and innovative implementations. Timber framing itself, though, doesn’t require any new techniques.

In fact, timber framing is the original sustainable building method! All that’s required is to plan well, keep water out and do maintenance. We don’t minimize innovation. Innovation is important to the green building movement, as it gives incremental gains and fuels momentum. Sometimes, though, that new, sustainable product can be a distraction.

Effective energy conservation isn’t exciting, but it’s easy!

Effective Drying

With timbers dried using a special radio frequency process you can achieve truly stable wood. And you can get stable wood will glue-lam beams as the S-dry material used to make the glue-lam beams are thin enough to allow trapped sell water to completely exit resulting in stable wood. Your other options are reclaimed or air dried timbers.

You can compare sustainable building to nutrition. It’s fun to eat the high-calorie, high-cost foods, just like it’s exciting to install a solar panel on your home. Unfortunately, it’s much more effective, and better for our overall health, if we eat mostly green vegetables. Those “green vegetables,” careful planning. repelling water, and timely maintenance, are the building methods that provide the most effective energy conservation. So how do we think about fitting in those “green vegetables?”

The people who love timber framing are inclined to make wise energy conservation choices. Their mindset aligns with careful planning and pragmatic building. We see this all the time at Arrow Timber Framing! This mindset is the ounce of prevention which does the heavy green building lifting. Timber framing makes a big contribution to promoting sustainable building because it serves as a conversation starter to encourage playing a longer game.

To think less is more.

To think of quality over quantity.

To have a clear sense of purpose.

To make wise building choices.

To embrace careful planning and avoid wasting resources.

An unclear sense of purpose or hasty planning typically results in ugly aesthetics and clumsy floor plans. Fixing these issues after the fact will only waste more resources. Good planning is required to build a sustainable project.  Reuse, repurpose and recycle are the biggest objectives of green building.

Careful planning maximizes our ability to do just that.

Careful planning allows for compact buildings with strategic resource allocation. Careful planning is the best “ounce of prevention” we can use to build sustainably. Building with post and beam construction is synonymous with careful planning.

Green Building starts with planning a project that suits your tastes and satisfies your desire to build a warm and inviting living space, with sustainable methods.

If you’d like to discuss a post and beam timber frame project, get in touch.

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House building techniques have evolved in a major way over centuries of practice. Today, with so many options, wood has still maintained great popularity. This is not just the abilities of wood itself, but the fact that is a renewable resource.
Bert Sarkkinen
Arrow Timber
Arrow Timber
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