Backyard Decks Go Green with Redwood Construction
Contrary to popular belief, redwood can be a very environmentally-friendly building material especially when compared to many types of composite decking. The key to maintaining a “green” pedigree on your redwood deck is using redwood harvested from “new growth” trees—those which are 30 to 50 years old from forests that are sustainably maintained and replanted.
According to the California Redwood Association (CRA), redwood is grown and harvested in accordance with the highest environmental standards in the world, tapping the sun for energy and soaking in California’s famed North Coast fog. Roughly 90 percent of all product-producing redwood forests are certified by the Forest Stewardship Council or Sustainable Forestry Initiative as sources of environmentally-sound building materials. In addition, redwood uses 97% less energy to produce than plastic.
But that’s not all — redwoods also excel at reducing carbon emissions. As they grow, the trees absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, storing it in the wood and releasing oxygen into the air. When the trees are harvested, the carbon they had captured remains stored: an average redwood deck carries 500 pounds of carbon. Choosing redwood as a building material can actually reduce a homeowner’s carbon footprint. In addition, when lumber is milled into decking and other products, the bark, sawdust and scraps are collected and used to produce biomass energy. In terms of sustainability, you can’t go wrong!
A Life Cycle Assessment from the trade organization Rooted In Truth compared redwood to plastic PVC decking and wood/plastic composite decking and found that redwood is one of the most environmentally-sound decking materials. Man-made materials such as plastics and wood/plastic composites require significant amounts of petroleum and chemicals to manufacture and these substances all contribute to global warming. Also, many of these composite materials are not recycled, and wind up clogging landfills for decades.
At Reuben Borg Fence, we feel that a deck is an extension of the home. The design and shape of the deck should complement your home and your living area. While we discussed the benefits of redwood in this post, we offer a number of different material choices and designs.