WOOD – A GREEN BUILDING MATERIAL
Green Building is the practice of increasing the efficiency with which buildings use resources while reducing its impacts on human health and the environment. This concept has become very popular as we have become more aware of the potential benefits from the environment we create. We have to make a conscious effort to choose building materials that have a positive effect on the environment. Wood has many positive characteristics such as low embodied energy, low carbon impact, and sustainability. In fact, wood is the only structural building material used in Green Building that has a third-party certification system in place to verify that products have come from a sustainably managed source.
WHAT MAKES WOOD A SUSTAINABLE RESOURCE
A sustainable resource is something whose production is supported indefinitely by nature. Wood is a sustainable resource only when trees that provide us with the timber for our building activities are harvested at the same rate as new trees are planted. Sustainability goes a step further than conservation. It is about maintaining an industry like wood so that it can be long lasting and have little effect on the environment. A sustainable forest management ensures that at no time will we run out of wood or forests. There should be a balance maintained between the social, ecological and environmental demands made on the forest landscape.
Wood from unsustainable sources leads to the chopping down of forests recklessly leaving behind bare areas that can never really recover their former glory. Not only does it result in wholesale destruction but it also has a profound effect on the areas where it is harvested from. This includes human rights abuse, hunting of endangered species, threatening the lives and even the lifestyles of indigenous tribal people as well as making countless rare and threatened creatures homeless. Only 8% of the world’s forests are protected from destruction. According to the State of the World Forest Report 2007, the world lost about 3% of its forest area from 1990 – 2005, but in North America the total forest area remained virtually constant.
Sustainable forest management was not a concern for many nations until the Forest Principles were adopted in 1992 at the UN Conference on Environment and Development at Rio de Janeiro. It outlines suggestions for Sustainable Forestry and stresses the need for a global consensus on the proper management and conservation of forests while standing out as a significant event in the history of Sustainable Forest Management.
Half of all the major industrial raw material we use in the USA come from forests. However, the sustainability of all these materials including wood requires forestry and harvesting practices that ensure long-term health and diversity of forests. Architects, product designers, and homeowners are increasingly asking for home products that are certified to be from a sustainable source. The formation of forest certification programs ensures that not only is the product like wood harvested in a sustainable fashion but also ensures that issues of biodiversity, habitat protection, and indigenous people’s rights are included in land management plans.
To ensure sustainability, wood products from certified forests should be specified. There are several certification systems relevant to the North America marketplace.
The FCS CERTIFICATE is applicable throughout North America. When you see an FSC certified wood, it means there has been an independent object evaluation of forest management practices of a company. The program also certifies companies that process, manufacture or sell products made from certified wood. The FCS uses an eco-label to endorse its products and help consumers make responsible decisions.
The PROGRAMME FOR THE ENDORSEMENT FO FOREST CERTIFICATION (PEFC) is a mutual recognition framework for national forest certification standards.
The AMERICAN TREE FARM SYSTEM covers small private non-industrial landowners, typically family forest landowners. The ATFS certified contiguous parcels of land from 10-20 acres and was endorsed by PEFC IN August 2008. It is applicable only in the U.S.
The CANADIAN STANDARDS ASSOCIATION (CSA) is a national standard for sustainable forest management and tracking and labeling of certified products and paper products with recycled content. It is applicable only in Canada.
The SUSTAINABLE FORESTRY INITIATIVE PROGRAM (SFI) is a sustainable forest management standard targeting large industrial operations in Canada and the USA. It is endorsed by the PEFC.
While certification is intended to enhance forest management around the world, most certified forestry operations are located in Canada and the US.
THE SEARCH FOR NORMAN TEAK
Many years ago the founder of Norman Window Fashion discovered a hardwood tree in the South Pacific that was perfect for making window shutters and blinds. After working with the new material for some time, he realized he had found something special. With the help of the local communities and a substantial investment in the species, he built a vast farm and shutter building plantation on the volcanic island of Kolombangara. Norman then developed socially responsible, and sustainable FSC certified forest management practices on the island and continues to support the living standards, essential infrastructure and basic services of Kolombangara’s local communities. In 2012, Norman Window fashion received the Best Use of Sustainable Material Award for its Sussex Shutters featuring Norman Teak from the Window Covering Manufacturers Association.
NORMANDY WOOD BLINDS featuring PHOENIX WOOD
The finely grained timber of the Phoenix tree is found in Norman Shutters as well as Norman Hardwood Blinds. The Phoenix tree captures more carbon compared to other trees and regenerates from the original stump to be ready for harvest in 7-8 years using the old and well-established root system. This lightweight, warp-resistant wood is harvested from an environmentally sustainable forest making them the most eco-friendly wood blinds in the market.
Normandy Norman Wood Shutters featured on Zebrablinds.com are treated with an exclusive Prescription Wood Conditioning technique that dries the wood to emulate the environmental condition of the location where the shutter will be installed. This reduces post-installation shrinking and swelling.
A wide range of frames with inserts keep installation screws out of sight for a clean and decorative look.
It has reinforced Engineered stiles made up of multiple layers of wood bonded together makes them extremely durable for daily use.
The Mortise and Tenon joinery resists racking forces and ensures maximum durability and stability to the shutter.
The Multiple Stills option on various sizes of wood help blocks natural outdoor light between panels. The Astra and the Rabbet stills option give you complete light control for your room.
The NORMANDY SKYLIGHT PERFECT TILT RF SHUTTERS is perfect for hard to reach windows and skylights. It requires no plug-in A/c adaptor or hardwiring. By using control technologies found in high-end stereo equipment, the Perfect Tilt RF signal has a range up to 65 feet.
An invisible Tilt system is an entirely tilt rod free solution for a more streamlined view and energy efficiency.
An ergonomic remote includes eight preset angles and can control an unlimited number of shutters. The remote is equipped with a timer allowing the use of the computer from any place and at any time with the help of proprietary web interface.
The Woodlore Norman Engineered Shutters made of composite wood harvested from well-managed forests and finished with a propylene coating that prevents moisture absorption and allows easy stain removal. This shows that Norman only works with foresters who work in sustained forest practices.
You could also choose from a 2” and a @1/2” Normandy Real Wood SmartPrivavy Blinds that are premium quality solid hardwoods with a feature that allows optimum blind closure for the utmost levels of privacy.
Graber Wood Shutters are produced using North American hardwoods that are carefully harvested through sustainable yield forest management. The amount of wood harvested is far below the levels of growth. In fact, the volume of hardwoods in American forests today is 9% larger than it was 50 years ago.
The Traditions Graber Wood Blinds have slat sizes of 2-inch, 2 1/2-inch 2 3/8-inch and 1-inch, with a PureGrain trademark.
The 1-inch and 2-inch Elite Graber Wood Blinds are made from 100% North American Hardwood and have a patented SureClose headrail for ultimate blinds closure option with a light blocking lip.
Buying Sustainable wood is one way we can support the future of the planet’s forests, and at the same time protect the future of our children.