Wood construction offers numerous advantages when faced with natural disasters, from maintaining a healthy indoor climate to being more durable than conventional materials such as concrete or brick.
Engineered wood building systems such as glulam and cross laminated timber (CLT) can be prefabricated offsite to reduce construction times on-site, helping communities rebuild quicker while minimizing waste.
1. Recovering from Natural Disasters
After natural disasters strike, wood products manufacturers must be ready to respond swiftly. Rebuilding communities may create unanticipated demand that requires more timber and building materials than anticipated. Wood products manufacturers should also assess the preparedness of their supply chain partners; how prepared are their vendors to withstand its effects?
Natural disasters have the ability to cause significant havoc to forest sectors. Hurricanes wreak havoc by destabilizing timber markets, making it more difficult for producers and consumers alike to plan production and purchases as well as more volatile prices, which in turn wreak havoc with economies.
Wood product companies can take steps to mitigate the impact of natural disasters on their supply chains by expanding the scope of safety and disaster recovery planning – this should include not only their manufacturing plants but also the supply chains.
Reforestation can help restore timber markets after hurricanes by mitigating carbon releases caused by damaged forests and by planting more trees faster. Reforestation helps ensure reliable, sustainable sources of forest products like timber.
2. Restoring Buildings
Wood buildings are more beneficial for the environment than concrete or steel structures in many ways, including reduced greenhouse gas emissions and fossil fuel dependence, locking carbon from the atmosphere into buildings where it remains locked up until eventually released back into the atmosphere by decay. Furthermore, using wood construction incentivizes sustainable forest management practices like thinning and landscape restoration efforts.
Wood meets today’s minimum codes for resilience, but also helps designers and builders go beyond them by giving more flexibility for exploiting advanced materials and engineering concepts, such as more accurate prediction of forces from earthquakes, high winds and flooding – leading to improved designs with more accurate predictions that result in stronger structures that withstand natural hazards more easily.
Misconceptions about wood’s resistance to moisture, hurricanes and termites that are characteristic of Southeast construction present another hurdle for its adoption in homebuilding projects. To combat this misconceptions about its ability to withstand these conditions, organizations such as National Association of Home Builders and Engineered Wood Association should lead campaigns educating construction members in that region about wood’s strength and durability against such environmental influences; contractors from Southeast should speak out about their experiences using wooden homes with steel and concrete advocates about them in order to disprove myths that wooden homes cannot withstand these environmental impacts.
3. Rebuilding Communities
Wood provides communities with a sustainable and renewable resource on which to grow, thrive and adapt. Buildings using more wood-framed walls require less energy to produce than those made with concrete or steel frames; additionally, wooden products help store carbon emissions thus decreasing greenhouse gas emissions.
Studies have demonstrated that homes built with wood require 17 percent less energy from extraction to maintenance than those constructed of metal. Plus, wood’s biodegradable and recyclable components make recycling simpler than non-renewable building materials like metal.
As communities recover from natural disasters, the wood industry stands ready to restore jobs and aid rural economies through USDA Wood Innovation grants. These grants also create employment and expand markets for innovative uses of mass timber, wood energy and wood products.
Timeless Frames in Watertown, N.Y. has experienced incredible resurgence after adopting modern business practices and lean manufacturing ethos to transform sales from $3 Million to $10 Million within 18 months of implementing these changes. Now employing 300 people and using 2 Million board feet of northern hardwoods as they attempt to compete against imported frames.
Teal Jones in Surrey, British Columbia will donate lumber to rebuild homes and community buildings at Nlaka’pamux Nation Tribal Council/Lytton First Nation after wildfire devastated their area. Teal Jones is working closely with local government, provincial governments and national organizations as well as community organizations in coordinating its donation, so it reaches those in greatest need.
4. Restoring Infrastructure
Wood is an eco-friendly building material, adding ecological benefits throughout its lifespan. Wood construction consumes and emits significantly less energy compared to steel or concrete construction materials; production processes also emit significantly fewer greenhouse gases and air pollutants compared with those of other materials.
Wood is unique among materials in that it acts as a net absorber of carbon dioxide (CO2). Wood construction also benefits the environment by reducing emissions from other materials and increasing water absorption into soils, both factors which reduce pollution.
Wood-based building products also help increase energy efficiency and lower carbon footprints by creating thermal mass; wood buildings require less heating and cooling compared to other materials, leading to decreased energy usage and costs, which result in lower operating expenses overall.
While wood manufacturers strive to increase efficiency and sustainability within their operations, they also promote more resilient designs for new wood construction projects – specifically by showing how these buildings can withstand natural hazards via engineering standards and design requirements.
The industry should work towards attaining high resilience levels for engineered wood products and building with wood. This includes showing that minimum code requirements offer resilient construction practices while keeping design standards current with scientific advances.