The example of our middle European countries shows that all building materials and energy required for our daily life could be covered from sources which are harmless to our environment. Every architect and builder could save an incredible amount of energy which is now being wasted.
For example, the choice of a wooden window means that only a 126 part of the energy is used compared to an aluminum window. Or the other way around, you could use the same energy which is being used to install one house with aluminum windows to fit 126 houses with wooden windows!
Compare the energy usage in the production of windows, doors, floors, building, furniture, etc.
The energy used to produce 1 aluminum window could produce 126 timber / wood windows.
Sources: Bavarian State Forestry Commission, Technical University Munich; Bavarian Advisory Committee for Forestry and Timber Management; Bavarian Ministry for Agriculture and Forestry; Federal Environment Ministry, Bonn.
This comparison can be applied to all types of building materials. Think about flooring (wood or synthetics), insulation (hemp or foam), doors, stairways, furniture and much more. Once we use this vast energy resource more effectively such as solar power generators or forests, we will require less power plants, storage, transport, and infrastructure. Our forests are the most energy rich resource available to us and we need to treat and manage nature's gift in a useful and sensible manner.
In Austria, if they were to use wood as building material for our homes (from the floor to the roof, furniture, heating, etc.) they still wouldn't be able to use up the yearly re-growth of wood. There still would be enough trees left to decay and mulch the forest. According to the forestry inventory, only half of the combined yearly re-growth from Germany and Austria together is being harvested. Most of it is being used in a wasteful and toxic way. Imagine what this could mean for North America.
The use of toxic wood preservatives, paints and glues has turned modern wood products into toxic waste which cannot be returned to nature and close this cycle of wood.
When we recognize this ingenious and simple resource, and integrate our ways into the natural cycle again, we will be able to fully replace fossil fuels with renewable energy in the building of future living and working spaces.
Holz100 Canada Inc.