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What is Sustainable Wood?

June 18, 2010 / Written by: Bradco Kitchens & Baths

June 18, 2010
Written by: Bradco Kitchens & Baths

There is no clear cut definition of what sustainability is. The World Commission (Bruntland 1987) has broadly defined sustainability as “development that meets needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” Luckily, when it comes to wood and forestry, there is a clear definition:

“the capacity of forests, ranging from stands to ecoregions, to maintain their health, productivity, diversity, and overall integrity, in the long run, in the context of human activity and use.”

What does that mean? It means trees should not be cut down faster than what is necessary to keep the earth safe and habitable for humans.

Why use sustainable wood?

In general, wood is a more eco-friendly choice. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is the leading gas contributing to the greenhouse effect. Trees “breathe” CO2. They store the carbon-C and release the oxygen-O2. Most cubic meters of wood have about 0.8 to 0.9 tonnes of CO2.

1 tonne CO2 = 556,000 litres or 556 cubic meters (about the volume of a 3 bedroom house)

On average, 1.1 tonnes CO2 emissions would be produced for each cubic meter of a manufactured material such as plastics or other materials that aren’t eco-friendly. So by selecting wood over a less eco-friendly product you are essentially saving 2 tonnes of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere.

In addition, if you select wood from a sustainable source that wood is being replaced by new growth.

What kinds of woods are sustainable?

Bamboo – Grown on immense plantations in China, Vietnam, other Asian countries and is over 1/8 of the forests in India. Bamboo is fast-growing and is ready to harvest in 4-6 years! Due to its fast rate of growth, it utilizes much less fertilizers and pesticides. Technically it’s grass and not wood, but is more durable than many hardwoods due to its pore structure – it’s the same as wood. Its light in color like ash or maple.

Cane – Like bamboo, it is a grass, but is stronger and more flexible. It is indigenous to the Phillipines and like bamboo it is also 100% sustainable.

Mango – Chances are you’ve eaten a mango, afterall it is the world’s #1 fruit! Mango trees provide fruit for 15 years, after that, they stop. So the wood is harvested and new trees are planted.

Maple – It is a relatively fast growing tree; growing 18” or more per year.

Lyptus – Lyptus hardwood products are an excellent option when selecting an exotic species grown to sustainable forest certification standards. Offering all of the benefits expected of a tropical hardwood, Lyptus hardwood is ideal for cabinetry, millwork, furniture and flooring applications.

What are the worst woods to buy?

Obviously, buying wood from endangered species is not a good idea. Luckily, in the US it is prohibited so your chances are very slim.
Stay away from slow growing trees such as Oak, Redwood, Beech and Colorado Spruce. However, these are great trees to select when landscaping your home! Medium growth rate trees such as red oak, birch and red-bud have medium growth rates and should be okay when purchased from sustainable resources.

The Forest Stewardship Council is an international not-for-profit organization that has created a set of standards that finds solutions for existing bad forestry practices and promotes responsible management of the world’s forests. By purchasing products with their label, you are supporting environmentally responsible management of the world’s forests.Forest certification systems are being implemented around the world. The five largest systems operating in North America are the FSC, SFI, ATFS, CSA, and PEFC.

For more information, about formaldehyde-free cabinets made from sustainable wood, contact Bradco Kitchens & Baths at (323) 936-3457 or visit their showroom at 6011 West Pico Blvd, LA 90036 (at the corner of Pico and Crescent Heights.

Bradco Kitchens & Baths
Bradco Kitchens + Baths is a full service remodeling provider in Los Angeles. We are proud to serve residents in and around the Southern California area and surrounding areas, bringing them top quality Los Angeles kitchen and bathroom remodeling services. At Bradco Kitchens + Baths we can also take care of your installation and construction needs.

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