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For many homeowners, the deck is a promise of quality time spent enjoying the home and garden that represents their dreams.

A recent survey commissioned by the California Redwood Association showed that decks can also help homeowners express their environmental values. While people love decks for both enjoying their outdoor space and boosting their home’s value, they want to make sure the products used to make those decks won’t harm the environment.

This reflects the trend CRA has observed for years now, with homeowners wanting to minimize their impact on the environment. The survey of California homeowners showed that three-quarters of them believe that it’s important for their deck to be eco-friendly. That’s probably why more than 90% said they believe a deck should be recycled or reused after its useful life and not wind up in a landfill. Which is why it’s more important than ever to make sure consumers have access to information that can help them make the best decision to fit their environmental values.

It’s no surprise that California homeowners would have an eye on sustainability when it comes to choosing their decking. That made CRA curious to know how they rate the current decking products available. When CRA asked them to rank-order a variety of decking materials, they put redwood at the top of the most eco-friendly deck building materials. They admired not only its environmental qualities, but also the natural beauty and warmth of redwood decking.

The results from this survey were enlightening: they prove not only that consumers are continuing to educate themselves about the kind of products they use in their homes, but also that some of the marketing messages from some composite/plastic deck product manufacturers aren’t holding up to the test of time.

When CRA commissioned a Life Cycle Assessment to compare the environmental qualities of composite/plastic decking and redwood decking side-by-side, it turns out that making composite/plastic decks out of old plastic is not that green after all.

Redwood is a renewable resource. Responsibly harvesting redwood trees is an essential part of sustainable forest management.

Redwood lumber is biodegradable; it goes back to the earth to help make more trees. The redwood forests of Northern California, a vital part of our ecosystem, are managed carefully to ensure that our forests will remain healthy, beautiful and productive for generations to come. That means responsible harvesting at sustainable levels, as well as the protection of old growth stands and natural habits. CRA takes pride that 100% of CRA member-owned timberlands are certified as well managed and sustainable by the Forest Stewardship Council.

Plastic, by stark contrast, is a petroleum product. Making composite/plastic decks depletes the world’s oil reserves. Once made, it often has only one final destination… the landfill. Making composite/plastic lumber out of recycled plastic only delays the inevitable and consumes precious, nonrenewable resources to bring the product to market.

Any time a homeowner is considering a deck for their home, they’re not just measuring the physical footprint, calculating how much of their yard to dedicate to this space. They’re also measuring the environmental footprint of that deck to minimize the environmental footprint the deck will leave behind.

CRA can help them find the most accurate measuring guides that will make them confident in their decision to find the best materials available from Mother Nature.

You may also read the original story on Building-Products.com.