What is the Best Sustainable Hardwood?

December 19, 2022

The harvest and use of certain hardwood products impact their sustainability. Learn about the metrics to measure sustainable hardwoods.

When you think of sustainable building materials, you might not think tropical hardwoods would be among them. After all, harvesting hardwoods requires tree removal, which sounds like it should lead to deforestation. At least, that’s the way it may seem. But this is not an accurate representation of how responsible lumber harvesting actually works.

When done correctly, harvesting hardwoods can actually be extremely sustainable and beneficial to the environment. Sustainable hardwood promotes the natural life cycle of the forests from which it is harvested. And because it is a natural resource, hardwood has minimal carbon emissions. Hardwoods emit no harmful pollutants or other chemicals into the environment. In fact, hardwoods have been shown to store carbon dioxide on their structure, removing it from the atmosphere. Not to mention, natural hardwoods also promote better CO2 filtration in the forests they originate from.

The process of harvesting sustainable hardwood is highly intricate and requires precise forest management. With proper management, tropical hardwoods can become sustainable materials. But which hardwoods are the best for certain projects? And which products offer the best sustainability? We can answer those questions and more.

Best Sustainable Hardwood Siding

As for the most sustainable hardwood siding and cladding, there are a few different ways to look at it.

One of the most common uses of hardwoods is hardwood siding or cladding. Hardwood siding is a great way to add style and practicality to any home or project. Hardwood siding is durable, looks great in a number of settings, and is also efficient. The sustainability of hardwood siding and cladding is not just limited to hardwood harvesting practices. Relative to other materials, hardwood siding is highly efficient as a natural insulator. This is because hardwoods conserve energy much better, and thus do a better job of retaining hot or cool air. Choosing hardwood siding for your project can provide better thermal insulation, leading to better comfort and energy efficiency.

As for the most sustainable hardwood siding and cladding, there are a few different ways to look at it. If durability is the key factor you are interested in, it is hard to beat Ipe. This tropical hardwood can last anywhere from 50 to 75 years. When treated properly, its quality remains pristine and does not diminish over time. All Ipe wood distributed by Black Label is carefully selected from well-managed rainforests.

In terms of total carbon emissions during the wood’s lifespan, tropical hardwoods are among the most sustainable hardwoods in the U.S. This is according to a calculation based on life-cycle assessment for various hardwoods. This assessment measures the total emissions of various types of hardwood based on each phase of their life cycles: growing, manufacturing, transportation, use, and end-of-life. 

However, this is just one metric to measure sustainable hardwoods by. Ultimately, the specifics involved in the harvest and use of certain hardwood products will have the greatest impact on their sustainability. As distributors and consumers, the best thing we can do is practice safe and responsible management of our hardwoods.

Sustainable Building Materials for Hardwood Siding and More

No matter how we use hardwood, it offers several advantages in addition to being sustainable.

There are many uses for sustainable hardwoods, and also many practical ways that they can benefit us daily. In addition to hardwood siding, hardwoods are often used for fencing, docks, decks, and furniture. No matter how we use hardwood, it offers a number of advantages in addition to being sustainable. Here are some of the most unique qualities offered by tropical hardwoods:

Acoustic Isolation

Have you ever noticed that rooms featuring hardwood wall slats, siding, or cladding seem a bit quieter than others? If so, this is not an accident or a coincidence. Most hardwoods have acoustic isolation, or sound-absorbing qualities. For rooms lined with hardwood, this usually results in excellent acoustic qualities. Hardwoods offer sustainably, and they also provide subtle comforts at home. Better acoustic isolation can mean more peace and quiet, which results in a more relaxed atmosphere.

Thermal Isolation

As mentioned above, many hardwoods are also great for thermal isolation. In other words, hardwoods act as a natural layer of insulation by trapping heat or cool air. This can have significant, if indirect, effects on sustainability. Hardwood’s natural insulating properties mean less energy will need to be spent heating or cooling the home or office. That may not seem like much on a day-to-day basis. However, when stretched out over a long period of time, energy savings add up. Considering how long certain hardwoods last (think of Ipe’s 50+ year lifespan), this quality should not be overlooked. Beyond sustainability, a well-insulated building is simply more comfortable than a poorly insulated one.

Carbon Sequestration

Carbon sequestration is the process by which trees capture and store carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This process is a major factor in why sustainability is crucial when it comes to our forests. This is also why we choose sustainable hardwood harvesting practices. On a large scale, we rely on our forests to filter carbon dioxide and produce clean air for us to breathe. 

When we use hardwood products, they continue to store carbon filtered from the air. And with sustainable wood harvesting, the process enables new life to grow in the forest. This continues the cycle of carbon sequestration, and offers immense benefits to the surrounding environment.

In simpler terms, your hardwood siding and cladding can store carbon filtered from the air. In turn, the forest that the hardwood is harvested from is able to thrive. New trees will continue to grow in place of the older, harvested trees.

Choosing Sustainable Materials

If sustainability is a priority, the best thing you can do is to use sustainable resources. At Black Label, we are committed to the most responsible and sustainable harvesting practices.

All wood distributed by Black Label comes from carefully managed forests, with the goal of regeneration in mind. Not only that, but our careful selection process also ensures that all Black Label lumber is of the highest possible quality.

When you choose to use Black Label lumber, you are supporting responsible forest management and an eco-conscious approach to business. Read more to learn about how Black Label is committed to ethical and responsible forest management.

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