You've decided that you want to use Oregon timber supplies in your next building project. You love its strength, its style and its sustainability. Before you order your timber, however, you need to be aware that not all Oregon timber is the same. While some types of timber may excel in one category, they may fall short in another, and this fact is particularly true when it comes to sustainability. If you want to buy the most environmentally friendly and sustainable Oregon timber possible, here are the five points you need to consider:
1. Locally grown timber wastes fewer fossil fuels in transportation than imported wood.
Oregon timber, as suggested by its name, originally hails from the northwest corner of the United States. However, having timber shipped all the way from Oregon to Australia is a long journey over nearly half of the world, and it takes a lot of fuel.
Luckily, there are plantations in Australia and New Zealand where Oregon timber is grown. By ordering locally sourced timber, you reduce the length of the timber's journey and thus the fossil fuels used in the process. In addition to where the timber grows, however, you also need to think about how it is grown.
2. Timber harvesting practices are key to sustainability.
Sustainable growing and harvesting practices vary based on the type of wood you are buying, but in most cases, timber should harvested more slowly than it is grown. Whether you buy timber from an Oregon forest or an Australian plantation, make sure that the growers can promise that they never harvest more than their yearly growth.
3. Weak timber ends up in the landfills more quickly than strong, durable timber.
When it comes to being environmentally friendly, you also have to think about how long something is going to last. If the timber you select is going to end up in the landfill in a decade, it may be more environmentally friendly to choose stronger, longer lasting timber. This can be true even if the stronger wood does use more fossil fuels to reach you.
In most cases, the timber directly from Oregon is stronger and more resilient than the Oregon timber from Australian and New Zealand plantations. The timber from plantations tends to have a looser grain and lower load bearing qualities. Talk with a timber expert to help you decide exactly how much strength you need for your project. These professionals can also help you weigh the pros and cons of both options from an environmental perspective.
4. The finishing process also affects how environmentally friendly the timber is.
When you use Oregon timber, it typically goes through a finishing process. The finishing process helps the timber to avoid common threats and withstand the elements if used in fencing or other outdoor projects. In most cases, timber is treated with a mixture of copper, chromium and arsenic (CCA) before it is used.
The copper keeps fungus away, and the arsenic keeps termites away. However, both of these chemicals can be toxic to humans so the chromium is used to keep the chemicals in the wood. Unfortunately, these toxins can sometimes leach out of the wood, and as a result, you may want to look for wood that has been treated in a more eco-friendly way. Some of the more environmentally friendly options include Ammoniacal Copper Quat (ACQ), Copper Azole (CA) and Light Organic Solvent Preservative (LOSP) formulations.
5. Eco-friendly paints and sealants are essential at the end of this process.
Once you have finally identified the most environmentally friendly type of Oregon Timber for your project, you may need to choose paints or sealants. Keep your environmental standards high during this part of the selection process as well. Find paints, finishes and sealants that have low chemicals, lower odours and a commitment to being green.