Monday, August 9, 2010

Love Your Neighbourhood Forest

Just returned from a very fine wilderness canoe trip to Parc de la Verendrye (see pic below) – a little known gem just a few hours north of here with 4000 lakes, ample sandy beaches, and a few delightful spots of whitewater. Our trip of canoeing, lounging on white sandy beaches and hammocking (could that really be a verb) was unfortunately marred by having to drive through some nasty clearcuts while leaving the park. Although there has not been the same passion for forestry issues in eastern Canada as there has been on the west coast, the issue is just as important.  On many of our commercial projects wood products make up only a tiny percentage of the materials used in construction, but for the One Planet Reno it will play a major role.

One of the reasons we chose the One Planet framework as an approach to the house renovation was that we liked the holistic view of sustainability. I recall a couple years ago an article that was burning up the blogosphere by Joseph Lstiburek titled Its the Energy Stupid, making the claim that building green was all about saving (operating) energy. We’re with Joe when he takes shots at tall glass LEED buildings that are energy hogs, but disagree that it is just about energy. It is also hard to claim true green status when the building is largely fabricated out of wood from clearcuts.

To ensure that our wood is coming from sustainable sources we’re prioritizing the use of salvaged wood wherever available. ‘Salvaged’ wood means wood that has already been put to good use (e.g. Holding up a barn), and now is cleaned up and given a second life. Failing availability or cost effectiveness of salvaged wood we’ll be using FSC certified wood from as local as possible. FSC stands for Forest Stewardship Council and is the gold standard for certified wood in Canada. Feel free to check out to learn more about why FSC is the shizzle. It is based on 10 principles that range from respecting indigenous rights to protecting biological hotspots.

We're still looking for locally available FSC engineered joists so if anyone has any leads we'd be happy to hear about it.

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