Choosing Sustainable Building Materials – Focus on the Benefits of Timber Windows

| June 13, 2013

Modern timber windows stand head and shoulders above the competition, including space-age plastics and traditional wood window frames. They are well insulated, efficient, and high-functioning. The strength and durability of wood is well known, and timber windows have the additional advantage of being easy to repair. The production of lumber and timber is eminently renewable and actually helps sequester carbon from the atmosphere to turn it into your future construction materials. If you are seeking for Earth-friendly and sustainable building materials, then timber windows are the best choice possible.

Advantages of Timber Windows

It is no rarity for scientists to borrow ideas from nature. Carbon nanotubes are no exception. You may have heard of carbon nanotubes as the miraculously strong fibres used for high-performance golf clubs and amazing modern musical instruments. It may surprise you to know that wood is literally made of natural, growing carbon nanotubes. That is precisely what gives wood its tremendous powers of strength, durability, and insulation. The tiny pipes that make up the trunk of a tree, barely a few molecules across, grow together in millions of columns that are tightly bound together and intertwined. This gives them the ability to stretch, bend, and vibrate together. It is this amazing fact that is responsible for the marvellous sturdiness and resonance of wood.

Timber windows are beautiful. They are traditional and daring at the same time, and well suited to accept practically any stain, sealant, or paint. Their strength means that slender frame sections can be used to hold the glass.

Timber is also an amazing insulator. Its unique structure makes it one of the best barriers to heat convection possible. Timber has been recognized as inexpensive and efficient insulation for thousands of years, but modern innovations have made this truer than ever before. Modern woodcutting and fitting methods mean that the frame can be joined to the glass with microscopic tolerances. Well-fitted timber windows have an energy rating of “A” from the “BFRC.”

Sustainability and Timber

All the timber sold in the EU comes from sustainable sources. The law is quite clear on this point and forest renewal is a primary concern for the long-sighted European lumber industry. Timber is the single most renewable building material conceivable. Trees capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and convert it into construction supplies, in the process generating healthy oxygen and tremendous beauty. The only problem with lumber is that it grows slowly. It takes time to do let nature do her job right. Fortunately the decades-long application of the EU’s prudent policies has ensured the supply for decades to come.

Natural production processes mean that timber is much cheaper to produce than any other construction material. Wood costs eight times less than plastic for equivalent insulation. Modern timber windows are more durable than any other window frame material. This means that they do not have to be replaced as often, which is easier on both the budget and the environment. The Forest Service Council (FSC) has implemented a series of guidelines for rating and managing the supplies, ensuring that the wood you bought is everything that it promises to be as well as making sure it will be replaced and reforested so that future generations can enjoy it as well.

Laura Swain writes for George Barnsdale & Sons, manufacturers of timber windows and doors. For more information on the use of sustainable timber in window manufacture visit: www.georgebarnsdale.co.uk/environment/certified-timber/

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