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Expanding Our Roots

The Role of Forests & Their Products in Fighting Climate Change

Reprinted with permission from the Council of Forest Industries September 2008 Newsletter

A new booklet titled, "Tackle Climate Change, Use Wood" is now available to inform global markets and consumers about B.C. forests and how they produce renewable, climate-friendly products that sequester carbon. 

The booklet highlights forest industry accomplishments with respect to climate change. It examines the environmental attributes of Canadian forest products – wood, pulp and paper, and residues – and was produced by B.C.’s Forestry Innovation Investment Ltd., the Forest Products Association of Canada and the B.C. Forestry Climate Change Working Group.

“People want to do the right thing and are interested in reducing their impact on the planet,” said Ric Slaco, chair of the B.C. Forestry Climate Change Working Group. “They want products that have a lighter carbon footprint and come from responsible and sustainable sources. When we point out the benefits of using B.C. wood products, we’re making it easier for them to make the climate-friendly choice.”

The booklet provides science-based facts, such as:

  1. Carbon storage: A typical 2,400-square-foot wood-framed house contains 29 metric tonnes of carbon. This is the equivalent of offsetting the greenhouse gas emissions from driving a car over five years (about 12,500 litres of gasoline).
  2. Lighter footprint: Substituting a cubic metre of wood for concrete blocks or bricks can save 0.75 to 1 tonne of carbon dioxide.
  3. Lighter footprint: Production of a steel-framed home consumes 17 per cent more embodied energy and releases 14 per cent more air pollutants than a wood-framed home.
  4. Lighter footprint: Production of a concrete-framed home consumes 16 per cent more embodied energy and releases 23 per cent more air pollutants than a wood-framed home.
  5. Energy efficiency: With lots of tiny air pockets, the cellular structure of wood improves its natural thermal efficiency, making it 400 times better than steel and 10 times better than concrete in resisting the flow of heat. Steel and concrete structures need more insulation to achieve the same thermal performance as wood framing.

A copy of Tackle Climate Change, Use Wood is available for download from:  www.bcforestinformation.com/building-green/climate-change/


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