The single biggest advantage of choosing fire retardant treated wood instead of alternative materials is, from a sustainability viewpoint, the raw material wood. Wood has great environmental benefits compared to all other construction materials. The basic benefits include the low-energy extraction from a renewable resource and the binding of CO2 through photosynthesis. It is also often considerably easier and cheaper to build with wood than with other materials. Hence, choosing wood can come with many advantages in terms of resource management, energy use, waste, and CO2 emissions, which are all important factors for environmental, economic and social sustainability.
Environmental sustainability is often described as the defining component or the foundation of social and economic sustainability, and encompasses the earth’s entire ecosystem and the long-term retaining of its desired functions such as food and energy production, clean water supplies, climate control, recreation, etc.
The main component of fire retardant treated wood can be one of various types of wood, such as spruce, pine, or birch. Wood from sustainable forestry is a renewable material, as well as the only renewable construction material used in large scale construction. In our Nordic climate, the material is usually regenerated within 100-200 years with only the help of sun and nature.
Thus, wood has great advantages over other construction materials in terms of both production and recycling potential. This is beneficial for long-term conservation of the earth's ecosystem and its functions.
There are different definitions of economic sustainability. In this context, it is to be understood as economic growth that does not have any negative consequences for environmental or social sustainability; an increase in economic capital must not occur at the expense of natural or social capital.
From this perspective, fire retardant treated wood is an excellent alternative to other construction materials. The energy used to extract wood products for construction purposes from the forest is significantly lower than for comparable construction products made of other materials. In addition, carbon neutral bioenergy is the dominating energy source that is being used in the various processes such as impregnation.
As a result, the CO2 emissions for the production of one square meter of building surface will be significantly lower when using wood construction compared to other construction techniques (traguiden.se). The extent to which energy consumption can be reduced is, of course, also dependent on the design of the building and the construction techniques that are being used. However, it can generally be stated that energy consumption from raw material extraction to finished construction will be significantly lower for both small houses and multi-dwelling buildings if wood construction technology is used instead of concrete or steel construction technology.
All in all, fire retardant treated wood is an economically sustainable choice as it does not have any negative consequences for environmental or social sustainability.
Social sustainability in this context means a development that meets today's needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
Fireproof wood meets these criteria well. The two most important motivations for this are that wood as a raw material is renewable and that the manufacturing process itself consumes less energy than that of alternative materials.
This means that generation after generation can benefit from the cycle that wood products are a part of; it starts with the trees producing oxygen through photosynthesis as they grow, and continues with harvesting, production, construction, reusage and recycling through energy recovery which returns carbon dioxide into the process of photosynthesis.
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