Effect of Using Timber as Building Material on Environment

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Posted By : ScienceIndia Administrator

About seven to eight billion acres of land should be replanted in order to overcome the loss caused by deforestation. The Earth Island Institute says that the World trees are cut and used 30 times faster than they are planted. People need to use less timber. In developed countries, industrial wood (paper) is the largest category of wood used, while fuel wood is the largest category in developing countries.  Majority of timber also gets accumulated as the building material.  The use of non-timber building alternatives has to be looked upon in order to reduce our need to imprudently consume precious timber resources. Attempt to reduce wood consumption should be considered. Steel framing and cement both are energy exhaustive to produce, and are not necessarily an environmental improvement over wood framing. Improvisation in design and construction practices can lead to saving in wood consumptions.

Engineered wood is stronger, more consistent in quality, less fiber and weight than a solid wood product. Use of engineered and well measured component prevents wood wastage from extra cut-offs at construction site. Consistent in quality leads to less rejection of low quality wood at the construction site.  Use of engineered trusses instead of stick framing allows a substantial reduction in the amount of timber. Engineered wood also uses less wood for roof and floor framing. Wood floor framing should be eliminated and cement concrete flooring with ceramic tiles should be used. 

Recycled timber extracted from old and demolished buildings, factories, etc. can be re-used.  Second hand material and offcuts should be reused instead of throwing them. Offcut problem can be reduced by using more engineered woods. Use jointed timber as it can be joined on its end by finger joints and metal nail plates or, on its width by various adhesives. Composite beam use less timber acquiring their strength than pure graded timber beams. Wood recovery should be done at saw mill by radial sawing, band sawing, laser sawing, etc. 

Alternatively, non-Timber Building Material such as clay bricks, Aluminum window frames and light weight mouldings, Bamboo (high tensile strength), Bamboo plywood, Biocement, Cement blocks, Concrete, Ferrous Cement (form of reinforced concrete made of wire mesh, sand, water & cement. It reduces mass of material in structure), Gypsum (forms base of Plaster of Paris and is used in wall lining & flooring), etc. can be used. The Timber Certification, which assesses the ecological health of forest, economic viability and social impact, should be implemented.  It is now imperative to find, create, develop and promote ethically harvested timber and environment friendly building materials.

Author: Abhinav Singh, B.Tech (Civil Engineering; 2nd year), Jamia Millia Islamia

Image Source: https://homesthetics.net/60-creative-ways-recycling-old-wood/


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