Why Wood

Sail Condominiums, UBC. Architect: Rositch Hemphill and Associates. Photo: Raef Grohne

Sail Condominiums, University of British Columbia

As building technologies evolve, one material remains as in-demand as ever: wood. Wood costs less – economically and environmentally – and it’s one of the most beautiful, versatile, durable and renewable raw materials available.

Wood costs less and delivers more

Wood-frame construction is faster, material costs are lower, and construction techniques are efficient. Wood building systems typically cost less to install than other materials. Whether comprised of traditional wood framing, panelized products or prefabricated assemblies, wood construction is fast, expediting project completion. Wood’s relative light weight reduces the need for foundation capacity and associated costs. Wood is readily available and tends to be delivered more quickly than other building products. Plus, many communities have a large pool of qualified tradespeople with wood framing experience, which minimizes construction delays, keeps labor costs competitive, and contributes to the local economy.

Determining the true cost of a building material requires evaluating the product over its life cycle and taking into account its environmental as well as monetary costs. When considered over its lifetime—from harvest of raw materials through manufacturing, transportation, installation, use, maintenance and disposal or recycling—wood performs better than concrete and steel in terms of embodied energy, air and water pollution, and carbon footprint.