With an ever-increasing focus on the world’s climate and on ways to lessen mans’ impact on the environment, there has been a steady trend over recent years toward greener ways of living. Timber Frame Homes holds an ever-improving competitive advantage over its brick and mortar counterparts both in cost and being an environmentally sensitive product offering. It is the only construction method that is truly sustainable.

Sustainable construction makes use of materials that minimize environmental impacts such as global warming, resource depletion, and human toxicity. Environmentally preferable materials have a reduced negative effect on human health and the environment, and contribute to improved worker safety and health, reduced liabilities, reduced disposal costs, and achievement of environmental goals.

Timber is recognized as one of only a few renewable construction materials. All timber used by THK Construction is sourced from FSC certified forests. Building with timber sourced from sustainable forests ensures the continued replanting of saplings which increase the CO2 absorption from the atmosphere and at the same time decrease the levels of CO2 emissions back into the atmosphere. For every tree that is cut down, 2 new trees are planted. Saplings have also been proven to be much more effective in the absorption of CO2 than mature trees.

Every cubic meter of certified FSC timber used in construction can easily save up to 2 TONS of CO2.

But more importantly, one seriously needs to look at the environmental impact of traditional building methods, and more specifically the manufacture of cement.

The Global release of CO2 from all sources of cement manufacture is estimated at around 23 billion tons a year, and the production of Portland cement worldwide accounts for 7% of total carbon emissions.

Although the global cement industry has attempted to reduce CO2 emissions by improving production efficiencies, it is fairly limited in this respect due to the nature of its industry.

These include, but are not necessarily limited to:

The consumption of huge quantities of fuel in the manufacturing process.

The Portland cement is the 3RD MOST ENERGY INTENSIVE manufacturing process after aluminium and steel. The process of calcinating limestone is done in huge kilns or furnaces and requires enormous amounts of heat, usually produced by the burning of fossil fuels.

Airborne pollution (gas, dust and smoke)

It has long been accepted that dust emissions during the manufacturing process also need to be seriously considered. The industry handles many millions of tons of dry raw materials every year and even if only 0.1% is lost to the atmosphere, this is of major environmental concern.

Release of CO2 from raw materials (limestone)

CO2 production is inherent to the basic process of calcinating limestone. This is when calcium carbonate, or limestone, is decomposed into calcium oxide (lime) and carbon dioxide.

The cement industry quite simply does not fit the contemporary mould of being a sustainable industry.

The products that it produces cannot be recycled.

The raw materials and energy that it uses are non-renewable (1 ton of cement requires approximately 2 tons of raw material and releases 1 ton of CO2)

It extracts its raw materials by mining.

Green building is not only a wise choice for our future; it is also a necessary choice. The construction industry must adopt eco-friendly practices and materials that reduce its impact before we reach a point of irreversible damage to our life supporting systems. The industry needs to take its own initiative and find alternative ways to build, using green, renewable energy resources, and adopt non-polluting practices and materials that reduce, recycle and reuse, before it is too late.