BWD Blog

Earth Responsible Green Building Practices

We all need to utilize our planet’s resources responsibly.  For building materials, this means focusing on using materials that meet earth responsible criteria:

  • Made from natural materials without chemicals or oil,
  • Biodegradable
  • Renewable and sustainable or it is reclaimed

The use of chemicals in building materials creates, at some point, the need to dispose of the chemical waste. By utilizing materials void of chemicals we not only avoid exposing our families but also the eventual leaching and cleanup of these dangerous elements from our environment. Using products made from oil increases the need to buy more foreign oil and oil based products which are not biodegradable and clog our landfills. Additionally, the use of oil based products increases the demand for ethanol, a low cost gasoline substitute. This demand increases the farming of soybeans, the primary ingredient used for most ethanol production. The expansion of soybean farming in Brazil is the second largest contributor to rain forest destructionfollowing the destruction caused from low cost beef ranching.

Using biodegradable building materials is important because we don’t want the refuse from our projects to forever clog landfills.  The material should be recyclable, reusable and / or easily disposed of so that it will decay naturally without causing any impact on the environment.

Renewable materials are those that are replanted and replaced so that the continual growth of new trees is sustained.  When trees are logged, more are planted to supply trees for future building.  Oil is not renewable or sustainable.  There is a finite amount of oil on this planet.  Reclaimed material is that which is being used a 2nd time or otherwise saved from being discarded as trash.  Heart of pine flooring is removed from old structures, planed and installed in newer buildings.  Sunken logs are salvaged from the bottoms of rivers and milled into useable timbers.  Because of its durability, hardwood decking can be removed, refinished and installed again on a new deck.

There are excellent cost effective choices for decking material that demonstrate these basic green building guidelines.  Pressure treated lumber is pumped with chemicals to increase its resistance to rot and bugs and composite decking is made from oil.  However, redwood, cedar and imported hardwood decking all meet green building criteria.  Of these 3 choices, imported hardwood decking is more durable therefore the most cost effective over the life of the deck and most people agree that it is also the most beautiful decking in the world.  Hardwood lumber like ipe’, cumaru, garapa and jatoba from South America is naturally bug and rot resistant needing no chemical additives.  It’s biodegradable, it can be dismantled and used again for another deck (reusable) and the payment for the replanting of new trees is required before logging permits are granted to harvest the lumber (sustainable).

The regeneration of many ipe’ alternatives like jatoba, garapa, massaranduba, angelim and tigerwood require decades to replenish themselves rather than a century.  This is the main reason that Brazilian Wood Depot  supplies these other species.  They are all beautiful, stable and make great decking.

Being earth responsible and building a “green” deck doesn’t cost any extra money.   Hardwood decking looks better and lasts longer than any other options and it also costs less.  Every day more people are becoming aware of the value of hardwood decking.

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