Authentic Sustainability at International Timberframes

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sustainable green forest

A green building material:

We love wood and the basics at the heart of timber framing. In our modern world with its bewildering array of artificial products, wood is the real thing.

Our love of the natural properties of wood lies at the heart of the entire mission of International Timberframes.

Our Mission

✓ To demonstrate our love of wood in everything we do, showing it’s the most natural and healthy product to build with
✓ 
To build simple and highly efficient homes to serve humans for centuries
✓ To inspire with a human touch: cut and prepare by hand,  making the most of each unique piece of wood, using traditional craftsman skills coupled with new technologies
✓ To have the reputation as the ‘go–to’ wood experts who offer ideas, inspiration and individual solutions
✓ To take whole-hearted steps to conserve our planet by doing everything as sustainably as we possibly can

people showing love of wood by hugging a tree

The construction industry is responsible for a huge volume of waste. During construction, but more so at the end of life of buildings, contaminated wood, chemical insulation, paint and stain coated plaster, concrete, steel, rubble is all going into landfill or places we don’t even know!

We have a responsibility to try to reduce this waste, or at least ensure it can be reused or recycled. Future generations do not need the burden of our decisions today.

Sustainability is a buzz word used now by many companies to help market and sell products, many of which are definitely not environmentally friendly.  We do not believe in such ‘greenwashing’.

We genuinely believe that words like green, environmentally-friendly, sustainable and healthy have honest meaning beyond marketing.

Authentically sustainable products

Society is certainly aware of sustainability and is becoming more and more in tune with what it means and how important it is. In an ideal world, sustainability is a by-product of good design. Running a business in a sustainable way should naturally be sound business practice.

A sustainable product is not just a product designed and made with the environment in mind, although this is important. It is about looking at the bigger picture and taking into account where it is made, who makes it, how will it affect everyone who uses it. It is as much about the social as it is the environmental implications. It’s very hard to make something completely sustainable but thinking about all these things will help reduce the impact considerably and that’s the definition of authentic sustainability.

The sustainability of wood

If properly managed wood is the ultimate green building material. When harvested, managed and used sustainably, forests are the source of the greatest material on earth.

Trees absorb carbon dioxide as they grow. When trees are made into building materials, that carbon dioxide remains sequestered in the finished products. All that stored carbon dioxide is kept out of the atmosphere.

If properly managed,  wood products are reusable as well as biodegradable. Inherently, they also reduce CO2 emissions, release no toxic emissions during production, and their usage does not deplete the earth’s resources as quickly as the use of hydrocarbons, metals and many minerals.

It’s amazing what can be achieved with wood without resorting to toxic glues or complex formers.

Wood sustainability versus other building materials

Concrete, steel, aluminum and brick building materials have been in fashion for many years.  However around 16% of all the fossil fuel consumed every year is used to turn those raw materials into construction products.

Using wood and specially engineered wood products instead would drastically reduce global carbon dioxide emissions and fossil fuel consumption. Managed properly, this could be done without loss of biodiversity or carbon storage capacity.  Of course again this means we must not resort to using toxic glues in our wood products.

Authentic sustainability at International Timberframes

We aim to create sustainable products without compromising on style and design.

Our entire philosophy is based around sustainability

We strongly and whole-heartedly believe in:

✓ Creating products that will be cherished, enjoyed and loved
✓ Design, craftsmanship and sustainability working together
✓ Pushing back against a throw away culture – longevity is the basis for genuine sustainability
✓ Environmental  thinking and respect for the materials we work with and in our production methods
✓ Sustaining the traditional techniques of timber framing, which in themselves are sustainable for the environment

But we don’t just have a sustainable philosophy at International Timberframes. We genuinely and intentionally try to act in as sustainable a way as possible in everything we do.

Source materials used

Where we are buying new lumber we ensure it is locally harvested wood from sustainably managed forests.  With this new wood we advocate for the use of low or no-VOC stains and finishes. This approach is not only more environmentally friendly, but improves the air quality and health of the home.

On several occasions we have worked with clients to re-purpose / recycle old timbers.  For example in this home we took old wood from a barn and recut it to fit a new-build home.  Yet another reason to sustain the age-old skills and craftsmanship of timber framing! The world must learn to sustain skills that contribute to sustainability.

Production

Not all wood is equal.

Wood100 100% Wood DLT versus other mass timber products

DLT mass timber Roof in bcThere is a growing trend in the use of cross laminated timber (CLT) in wood construction and unfortunately much of it is glued.  Prefabricated panels are made by layering wood on top of each other on their wide edge glueing together each layer in alternating angles.  This use of glue renders the wood useless at the end of its life. The glue means the wood cannot even be burned safely for fear of toxic off-gassing.

At International Timberframes we only manufacture a 100% Wood CLT.  Called Wood100 the layers are pegged together with beech dowels. It is a truly green and completely clean cradle-to-cradle product.  Because it contains no glue or other chemicals it is 100% recyclable. It can be disassembled and reused, burned or composted at the end of its life.

 

The energy consumption during manufacture of Wood100 is roughly 3.5 times lower than even the manufacture of other mass timber products. This significantly lowers production emissions.

Do not believe the hype when people tell you glued CLT is a sustainable product.

Sometimes too it’s just the little things that demonstrate we walk the talk.  We recycle everything we can in the shop, in the office, in the lunch-room and on a job-site.  We have a strict policy of turning off lights and machines at the end of a work-day or when not in use.  Our employees car share to and from work. We re-use wrapping material when packing and handling timbers being delivered to job-sites or being stored at our facility.

We promise to always try to do the right thing, for the client, for the planet and for the tree.