The building industry is a complex network made up of material suppliers, product manufacturers, logistics operations and mixed trades. All of these areas have some sort of impact on the environment. However, during the production cycle, timber’s contribution via its environmental impact is significantly lower than many other building products.
Increasingly, embodied energy is being considered as an important method of defining the contribution a product/s make during the construction and building lifecycle.
The Website “Your Home – Design for Lifestyle and the Future” defines embodied energy in its technical manual section as:
Embodied energy is the energy consumed by all of the processes associated with the production of a building, from the acquisition of natural resources to product delivery.
This includes the mining and manufacturing of materials and equipment, the transport of the materials and the administrative functions. Embodied energy is a significant component of the lifecycle impact of a home.
In research into embodied energy in construction, timber rates particularly well as a building material.
As a building material, timber has a low embodied energy contribution to the whole construction process. This is due to the fact that the net processing energy required to manufacture the final product is significantly lower compared to more industrial-based products such as steel, aluminium or plastics.
In addition, timber offers the additional benefit of being able to take up carbon (CO2) as part of its growth cycle.
With the embodied energy issue expected to become more widely understood in the coming years, timber windows are set to become even more attractive to consumers.
More information on embodied energy can be found below:
Your home design guide – greenhouse.gov.au