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Northwest Timber Frames
Building Green Benefits

Because it is recyclable, renewable and biodegradable, wood easily surpasses other options such as steel or concrete as a sustainable building material with an acceptable impact on the environment. Based on how much energy and other natural resources it takes to create and the amount of pollution it generates from its removal from the forest through its useful life until its final disposal, wood may be the perfect building material.

And should the homeowner/builder choose to do so, other environmentally-friendly options are also available, beyond just using wood for the general framework of the project. Alternative roofing options include, among other choices, 50-year recycled asphalt shingles, recyclable fiber cement and of course true “living” Green roofs, which consist of planted vegetation.

In addition to the alternative enclosure systems mentioned earlier, the use of natural plaster, masonry heaters and passive solar systems can help assure that we meet the needs of the present generation without jeopordizing the prospects of future generations.

Some other things the homeowner might want to take into account as they plan their construction project:

  • Site Management - tree protection, jobsite and construction waste recycling
  • Water Efficiency - drought-tolerant landscaping and turf; hot water on demand system or water heater within 30 ft. of fixtures [to reduce water waste by using technologies that provide hot water at the tap with minimal wait time]
  • Indoor Air Quality - right-sized HVAC system for more energy efficient operation, lower installation cost, more effective dehumidification and pest control, and better air filtration; no vapor barrier such as vinyl wallpaper on inside of exterior walls so that moisture in wall interior can dry and avoid mold; continuous drainage plane on exterior walls behind cladding material and proper flashing at windows and doors to protect building envelope from water intrusion and potential structural damage, pest problems, mold; avoid attached garage or isolate garage from living space with appropriate sealing techniques to prevent car exhaust and other fumes from entering living space
  • Energy Efficiency - Energy Star Certified; minimized sun on east-west windows; Energy Star appliances; radiant barrier, light-colored or insulated roof deck
  • Materials - engineered lumber products including trusses and finger-jointed dimensional lumber; minimum 25-year warranty exterior cladding; gutter extensions and positive drainage away from house to protect foundation and cladding; advanced framing techniques that reduce amount of materials used while maintaining structural integrity, saving 3-5% of framing cost and lowering energy cost 2-5% per year by replacing excess wood with more insulation
  • Homeowner Education - operations and maintenance kit; information on recycling, green energy service providers, and Energy Star
  • Design the building envelope (air barrier and insulation) and air conditioning/heating system so that all ducts and air handling equipment are in the conditioned space (so your central AC system is not guzzling energy trying to make ice cream in a 140-degree solar-oven attic in August!).
  • Keep plumbing out of exterior walls where pipes can freeze, break, leak, and cause water damage and mold.
  • Design at least a 2-ft. roof overhang or vegetation shading to minimize unwanted heat gain from sun on windows from May-Sept.

The end result of careful planning can result in an energy efficient home with lower utility bills and less air pollution, healthier, safer indoor air quality, comfortable and quiet, lower maintenance and more durable, water efficient, resource efficient and improved resale value.

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Phone: (360) 341-1354
Email: Jeff@nwtimberframes.com
Fax: (360) 341-2458

© Timber Frame Homes, Inc
Last updated on December 31, 2008