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In an effort to reduce the carbon footprint of the built environment and meet cost objectives, more and more building designers are choosing wood. In Arkansas, the El Dorado School District reduced......
In an effort to reduce the carbon footprint of the built environment and meet cost objectives, more and more building designers are choosing wood. In Arkansas, the El Dorado School District reduced costs by 4.5% ($2.7 million) through its use of wood framing in the 322,500 square foot school. Wood can also be used in buildings such as multi-story condos and single-story homes to arenas. Thanks to innovations like cross-laminated timber, parallel strand lumber, glued laminated timber and prefab paneling systems, an even wider range of wood buildings is possible. Wood’s adaptability and versatility allows for construction to take place in any climate and year-round. Wood also helps designers meet code. The International Building Code, introduced in 2000 and adopted by most US states, has created a more favorable environment for designing wood-frame commercial buildings, while offering the convenience of a single code. More importantly, building with wood has a positive environmental impact. Houses with wood-based wall systems require 15% less total embodied energy for manufacturing than thermally comparable houses using steel- or concrete-based building systems. Lastly, wood is a renewable resource. In just 60 seconds, U.S. and Canadian forests can grow 17,210 cubic feet of wood—enough to construct a 50,000-square-foot building—and US timberland growth has increased by 51% since 1953. Wood also plays a significant role in the modern economy. Use of forest products in the US supports more than 1 million direct jobs and contributes more than $100 billion to the US Gross Domestic Product.