As green building has evolved beyond its initial emphasis on energy efficiency, greater attention has been given to the choice of structural materials and the degree to which they influence a building’s environmental footprint. Increasingly, wood from sustainably managed forests is viewed as a responsible choice. Drawing from a wide range of research publications, this course will examine the current state of North American forests, modern forest practices, and criteria for sustainability, and consider some of the challenges that could profoundly impact the future of the forest resource.

Learning Objectives

  • Evaluate the use of wood as a construction material in the context of long-term forest sustainability as well as attributes such as low embodied energy and light carbon footprint.
  • Discuss forest sustainability measures such as biodiversity, soil and water quality, and harvest versus net growth.
  • Examine the concept that using wood in buildings provides an incentive to landowners to keep forested lands forested instead of converting them to uses such as urban development.
  • Compare the carbon benefits of an unmanaged forest versus a managed forest where timber is used for wood buildings.

Pre-Requisite: Basic knowledge of building with wood.