Table 1 (on the left) highlights the positive associations that wood induces in people, where an overwhelming 96% agreed that wood is ‘visually appealing’ and ‘has a natural look and feel’. Eight out of ten people also thought that wood is versatile, recyclable, renewable and long lasting. They appear to be less aware of the environmental benefits of wood, with only six out of ten survey participants understanding that wood stores carbon and creates less carbon emissions during production than steel and concrete.
The positive views of wood continue even when compared to other material types (Table 2). Wood was viewed as the material that creates a natural look and feel, warm and cosy environments, is visually appealing and is nice to touch by nine out of ten people, and as being the most environmentally friendly by seven out of ten people. By comparison the second most popular material, brick, received an average of 34% less positive feedback. Plastic was seen as the cheapest material but it also scored lowest in four out of five categories related to creating pleasant surroundings and being environmentally friendly.
These survey results provide support to the empirical evidence discussed above. Even though many people don’t understand the health and wellbeing benefits of wood they instinctively react to the feelings of warmth and comfort it creates and its natural look and feel. An increasing body of research is beginning to show that being surrounded by wood at home, work or school has positive effects on the body, the brain and the environment.
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