Currently, more than 70% of all sawn timber in South Africa is used in buildings, mainly in roof structures. We’re part of that large volume of manufacturers, and for good reason, it’s better for the environment. While this may not seem so on the surface, it’s the better choice for those who are environmentally conscious. Here are our top three reasons why wooden trusses are better for the environment.
Less of a carbon footprint
We’ve all become familiar with the term “carbon footprint”, which is the calculation of how much greenhouse gases have been released in the production, delivery, or will be produced by the end product. With steel products, there’s always a substantial footprint. This is because collecting, delivering, manufacturing, and then forming the material into a final product is a high energy process. This isn’t the case with wood.
Wood is one of the few products on earth that is carbon neutral, although this depends on how far away you’ve sourced your substrate, and the final treatment of the timber. If your sources are nearby and your final treatment is carefully done, your wood will have absorbed enough carbon dioxide while it was growing to offset the carbon produced, turning it into trusses. Also, the South African timber industry doesn’t tend to burn waste material but instead sends it to specialist landfills.
Timber is energy efficient
If you’ve been in a structure with steel trusses, you might have noticed a drop in temperature in the room. This is because steel doesn’t retain warmth as well as wood. Actually, steel is so bad at encapsulating heat it needs to be insulated against high-temperature fluctuations as the constant expanding and contracting can cause damage to the roof. It also needs to be treated against rust, which is an expensive endeavour to undertake and keep maintained. Timber trusses, on the other hand, naturally encapsulate any heat. In turn, helping cut down on electrical bills.
Also, as a rule of thumb, timber trusses are triangularly shaped, which always makes for easier insulation of, well, insulation. This will also help keep heating costs down.
Another natural benefit of timber trusses is that they are semi-fire resistant, while not related directly “green building” benefits, it’s worth noting, as they don’t require a fire resistance treatment step, and any reduction in time needed to develop a final product is better for the environment.
The final product weighs less
When it comes to the most prominent ecological contributors to greenhouse gases, transportation is a biggy. According to the EPA, it is in fact, the most significant emitter of greenhouse gases.
While using large vehicles for delivery is unavoidable in the truss building business, it’s worth noting that when the product is lighter, the vehicle doesn’t need to use as much fossil fuel to get the items from point A to B.
The average wooden truss will be substantially lighter than its steel counterpart. Which means delivering it to the work site is easier on all fronts, especially when it comes to installation time.