One expert referred to I Wood, also known as Profiled Lumber, as “the first major improvement in the framing of houses since the 1830s.” The current conventional building method, using square and rectangular beams such as 2x4's and 4x4's, hasn't seen any significant improvement in the last century. By profiling the beams in smarter, greener, more efficient shapes, the new I Wood lumber standard is proposing a giant leap towards better buildings and easier construction.
Given the importance of trees in our world facing climate challenges, the numerous environmental benefits of I Wood are welcome, as you will read in many blog posts on this site... Some might question the idea of using trees rather than other construction materials – rightly so, as many critical habitats on our planet are being deforested. The problem is not logging, the problem is mismanagement and outdated forestry practices... In retrospect, a sustainable management of our forests can have a positive impact on climate issues.
In the construction industry, wood is making a comeback as an appealing material after being the world's most popular for centuries. Right now, Cement-making alone produces 6% of the world’s carbon emissions. Steel, half of which goes into buildings, accounts for another 8%.
A recent article in The Economist (Jan 5th 2019) explains:
“Buildings can become greener. They can use more recycled steel and can be prefabricated in off-site factories, greatly reducing lorry journeys. But no other building material has environmental credentials as exciting and overlooked as wood.
The energy required to produce a laminated wooden beam is one-sixth of that required for a steel one of comparable strength. As trees take carbon out of the atmosphere when growing, wooden buildings contribute to negative emissions by storing the stuff. When a mature tree is cut down, a new one can be planted to replace it, capturing more carbon. After buildings are demolished, old beams and panels are easy to recycle into new structures. And for retrofitting older buildings to be more energy efficient, wood is a good insulator. A softwood window frame provides nearly 400 times as much insulation as a plain steel one of the same thickness and over a thousand times as much as an aluminium equivalent.”