Why Green Building?
Sustainability is often defined as “Meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”
It makes sense, right?
Then why aren’t we doing it? Why aren’t we, as a society, living it?
At Crossroads Recycled Lumber we are greatly concerned about the sustainability (or unsustainability) of the American lifestyle, particularly regarding the use of our natural resources. The way we have harvested and built over the past 200 years has come to a head, endangering our very existence on this earth. Now all of us in the U.S., and our worldly neighbors, have to develop wise ways of living, making less waste and pollution. The more quickly and sustainably we develop these ways, the better off we will all be.
What is Green Building?
- 72% of electricity consumption
- 39% of energy use
- 38% of all carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions
- 40% of raw materials use
- 30% of waste output (136 million tons annually)
- 14% of potable water consumption.
Green Building, or Sustainable Development, is a method and philosophy of construction, maintenance, and renovation that strives to reduce negative human impact on the natural environment, to promote the health and well-being of building occupants, as well as support local economies. The planning and implementation of a Green Building takes into account the entire lifecycle of the building and its materials while facilitating good health for its inhabitants and visitors.
Sourcing of materials is an important component in building green. The distance a material has been shipped, composition of the material, and the manner in which it was created all come into consideration. Shipping materials long distances (from a mountain forest in the Pacific Northwest to a lumber mill to a lumber yard one or two or three thousand miles away) burns more fuel and deposits more diesel smoke in the atmosphere, while materials found closer to home require less fuel for transport. Ideal materials for green building are non-toxic, renewable, recycled/recyclable, reused/reusable, and local. Reclaimed lumber can be all of these things, and in order to do our part to reduce overall fuel consumption from shipping, we often refer clients east of the Rockies to reclaimed lumber companies in their region.
Green Building and Sustainability are as much about helping communities and human beings as they are about protecting the environment. Using reclaimed wood not only helps preserve our forests by utilizing timber harvested decades ago, but also builds on the labors of our past. Using reclaimed lumber honors the labor of workers from days gone by – loggers, mill workers, truck drivers, architects, designers, builders and more by reusing a product that has ‘embodied energy’ both naturally and in the labor used to harvest and process it years ago.
Because they require less maintenance and are more energy efficient, Green Buildings can pay for themselves in energy and maintenance savings. Some studies have even shown people living and working in Green Buildings to be happier and healthier because of the nontoxic atmosphere, creating a more productive environment and saving costs on healthcare. Therefore, despite higher capital costs on quality materials than conventional buildings, green buildings can save significant amounts of money overall.
Crossroads Lumber and Green Building
Crossroads is committed to promoting sustainable living practices, such as Green Building, as a means to help our society and the world. We seek to make the world a better place, and would like to share some information on how you can do the same by utilizing Sustainable Design and Planning not only in your building projects, but in everything you do. Visit our links page for more information about Sustainable Living.
For our friends who are tired of hearing the catchphrases ‘Green’ or ‘Sustainability,’ remember to think of it as Common Sense Design, or Practical Long Term Planning for Construction, or Building Intelligently for the Long Haul and call it whatever you wish. We don’t mean to be capitalizing on a trend. Crossroads sees sustainability as a way of life, and our role in this new paradigm is to be able to provide your project with an alternative to conventionally harvested lumber. Crossroads has been providing reclaimed lumber and timbers to residential and commercial projects since 1981. We are proud to have been one of the forerunners in the green building movement. Preserving forests, reducing transportation emissions, and providing high quality lumber to our clients are all goals of ours.
Whether or not you use reclaimed lumber in your project, you may find other green building products that will work for you. Government and the private sector are developing methods and incorporating sustainable designs at an exponential rate. The research and development regarding Green Building, as well as sustainable design projects that have been studied, are proving beyond any doubt that this is the practical way of the future. As one of our not-so-green building contractors recently told us, “There are so many of these LEED projects coming up I’ve got to either get on board with green building or get left behind!”