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Environmental Benefits Of Redwood Highlighted On Patch.Com

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Trying to decide between a beautiful, natural redwood deck and a plastic or composite deck? If you care about the environment, you may want to consider a redwood deck. In its recently released Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), the California Redwood Association provides compelling reasons to choose redwood. Learn why in the following press release that is currently appearing on Patch.com sites throughout California.

Beyond the Green Label: study more than just marketing claims to understand the true environmental impact of a product.

By Charles Jourdain, The California Redwood Association

Home ownership is more than a financial move – it’s an emotional investment and comes with a sense of responsibility that few can appreciate until they are handed the keys to their own little square of this precious earth. A growing number of Americans are becoming more aware of their own environmental footprint and want to make smarter, more informed decisions about the products they buy. That may be why, in a recent survey we commissioned among California homeowners, 75 percent of those surveyed said that it’s important for their home’s deck to be eco-friendly. What’s more, 90 percent of those surveyed believed a deck should be recycled and reused, not just sent to a landfill.

Noble thoughts, and without a doubt driven by the best of intentions. However, thanks to careful packaging and presentation, the average homeowner can be easily misled to products that aren’t as green as their tagline makes them seem.

Indeed, for the past several years, certain manufacturers have promoted their plastic/composite decking material as green. Wanting to understand how these products compare to natural, real redwood, the California Redwood Association commissioned a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). This scientific technique is commonly used to quantify the environmental footprint of producing and consuming products we use in our everyday life.  For this LCA, we wanted to quantify the environmental impacts of redwood decking production and use over a 25-year life span in comparison to plastic/composite decking products.  The results:

Recycling: Once composite decking has lived out its usefulness as decking, it can often go straight to a landfill, since composite decking is not recycled. On the other hand, the lumber from a redwood deck is completely recyclable.

Air Pollution/Carbon Footprint: Redwood trees absorb more carbon than they produce, and continue to store that carbon once it is part of a home. The average redwood deck stores 500 pounds of carbon because wood is 50% carbon by weight. Plastics and composites rely on chemical resins and fossil fuels that release carbon and increase emissions.

Water Pollution: Redwood trees absorb water for growth through fog and rain; water is used minimally in milling process.

Energy: Unfiltered solar energy is the cleanest energy source available, and redwood trees excel at converting that energy into beautiful, durable wood, whereas the energy to product plastics and composites come from burning fossil fuels. Plus, when lumber is milled into decking and other products, bark, sawdust and scraps are collected and used to produce clean energy. Sawmills can use this biomass energy to power their operations and add excess electricity to the state’s power grid, taking redwood’s energy efficiency to a level man-made materials never reach

For the executive summary, visit http://rootedintruth.org/pdf/LCI-Summary-Report.pdf

In addition, redwood trees are grown and harvested under the most stringent forestry regulations in the world. In fact, redwood is grown almost entirely on private commercial lands zoned specifically for timber production. That’s what makes redwood one of the most protected timber species in the world.

The careful management of redwood forest, combined with its proven environmental benefits, underscore the simplicity and logic that the best practices for environmental stewardship come from nature itself. Renewable, recyclable, and cleaner to produce than composites or plastics, redwood sets the example of how to live green without sacrificing quality or elegance.

About The California Redwood Association

Founded in 1916, the California Redwood Association (CRA) is one of the oldest trade associations in the lumber industry. From the very beginning, the association’s primary mission has been to promote redwood products and educate builders and consumers on the advantages of using redwood.