As increasing numbers of us become conscious of our impact on the world around us, both social and environmental, corresponding changes are being seen in the way we produce food, choose to travel, and purchase our goods and services. From sustainability in business to eco-friendly buildings, the growing trend to look after the planet and her people is here to stay.
When it comes to the home, many of us are also opting for cleaner and greener solutions to our energy requirements, and water consumption as well as in our construction projects and furniture. In this article, we will focus on some of the eco-benefits of using reclaimed wood in your home.
What is reclaimed wood?
Reclaimed wood is reused or up-cycled wood that has been sourced from different places. For example, reclaimed wood beams may be repurposed to create a fireplace mantel or coffee table. Other common uses for reclaimed wood include wood flooring, accent walls, ceiling panelling, dining tables, and pergolas.
Unlike recycled wood, reclaimed wood has not been altered in any way so will still be similar to its original state. Some common sources of reclaimed wood include the following:
- Old barns
- Retired ships
- Wine barrels
As well as introducing a sense of history, charm, and character into a space, reclaimed wood has many eco-benefits as outlined below.
Deforestation not only means there are fewer trees left on the planet but also results in 15% of global greenhouse gas emissions, making it a contributing factor to climate change. The use of reclaimed wood reduces the demand for virgin lumber sources and the need for logging, helping to lower the rate of deforestation in the world. Used effectively, reclaimed wood can become a sustainable and renewable material that reduces the burden on landfill sites and the need to manufacture and treat new wood materials with its associated impact on the environment.
Creates Fewer Toxins
Unlike manufactured timber, reclaimed wood reduces the need for chemical processes to treat the wood to make it more resistant to threats such as heat, moisture, mould, fungi and termites. Chemicals such as copper chrome arsenate (CCA), creosote, alkaline copper quaternary (ACQ), copper dimethyl-dithiocarbamate (CDDC), ammoniacal copper citrate (CC), and liquid organic solvent preservative (LOSP) are just some of the toxic chemicals which are used to treat wood.
The sites where this wood is chemically treated are also harmful for the environment and can contaminate the surrounding land. With less reliance on chemically treated wood, there is also less need for such sites to exist.
As reclaimed wood reduces demand for newly sourced wood, it also helps to preserve the countryside and the creatures that inhabit and rely on the woodlands and trees to survive. The biodiversity in the woodlands ranges from bears, rodents, deer, squirrels and a large variety of birds as well as various plant and flower species. If the woodlands continue to be felled, many of these plants and animals will lose their natural habitats and could even disappear from our parks, woods and forests forever.
With all of the environmental benefits mentioned above, why not consider using reclaimed wood for your next home project?