Architects seek wood that lightens a project’s environmental footprint.
Over the past decade there has been a dramatic upswing in the number of companies that want to build reputations as good corporate citizens. Natural, organic, and sustainable are all highly desirable characteristics in the wide world of products. According to a 2009 study by accounting and consulting firm Deloitte Touche, 95 percent of shoppers would buy green provided they had the right information on an otherwise satisfactory item. But with the plethora of environmental claims by companies seeking to advance their products, “green,” “eco friendly,” “sustainable,” and the like are terms that have become confusing at best, meaningless at worst. In order to keep from drowning in greenwash, the market has demanded greater transparency and verifiable evidence of sustainable performance all along the supply chain.
This article will discuss how architects can be reasonably assured that products, particularly wood products, are maximally sustainable. Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) and forest certification will be discussed in terms of their place on an architect’s sustainability agenda, and an LCA of western redcedar will be presented to demonstrate the level of research involved, along with results that can be expected from the life cycle approach. Read More.