Environmental sustainability is now a major concern on a global scale. Architects and engineers are becoming increasingly concerned about the environmental harm caused by the construction industry, which has fueled the incentive to develop environmentally friendly techniques and materials. Hence, the properties of wood make it the utmost excellent building material. Architect Sumit Dhawan of Cityspace'82 Architects shares his depth of understanding for optimising wood in the built environment.
Unlike most other building materials, natural wood is renewable. It is processed with considerable care and is reproduced in the forests where it is cultivated. Additionally, trees absorb carbon dioxide during photosynthesis, lowering the carbon footprint of the wood harvested from sustainably managed forests. Moreover, innovative solutions can make the best use of available resources. It also allows for recycling, reusing, and reducing waste. As a result, environmentally-friendly products are manufactured through the cautious processing of raw materials.
Construction with Wood
Wood is a versatile organic material and renewable resource with ecological benefits that uses minimal energy during manufacturing. Although new materials have evolved, wood remains one of the most commonly used. It is recognised for characteristics such as durability and hardness, in addition to its virtue and natural elegance, in the built environment. Additionally, Wood is regarded as warm, rustic, and aesthetically appealing. The colour, fragrance, texture/grain, and veining are the essential features of every wood species providing a wonderful finish and texture. Moreover, unlike many other materials, wood does not rust and can be restored and preserved.
Wood is a durable construction material that can be made to be fire resistant with the right fire retardant treatment. It has excellent sound absorption properties. As a result, stopping sound waves provides improved acoustic comfort. It also acts as a thermal insulator, saving energy consumption. Similarly, dry wood is an excellent electrical insulator and does not collect static charges. The electrical resistance of wood is inversely related to its moisture content.
Wood, like any other building material, has constraints, but these can be overcome with various preservation strategies. Ideally, wood should be used in construction that maximises its benefits while minimising its drawbacks. Wood is hygroscopic, which means it collects moisture from the air, causing it to shrink and swell. While wood is an organic material, it provides nourishment for various plants and animals. Non-biological decay of wood can be experienced by the sun, wind, water, chemicals, and fire. The use of thick wood as a structural element can aid in the prevention of deterioration.
Techniques for Improving the Effectiveness of Wood
To ensure proper performance, it is essential to choose the correct type of wood for the project's requirements. The basic approaches for protecting wood include drying, coating, and preservation. These can aid in removing the material's main constraints.
The coating protects both indoor and outdoor installations. It prevents moisture absorption and damage as well as reduces swelling and shrinkage. Certain coatings protect wood against UV radiation, and they can also be treated with fungicides.
Wood can be dried using either air or a kiln to prevent decay. Kiln drying is highly effective as it destroys fungi and insects while adequately removing moisture.
Wood preservatives are utilised when the wood is frequently exposed to liquids, insects, and weather. All things considered, wood is a high-quality, durable building material. Wood construction is effective and efficient. The material can be sourced ingeniously and is more affordable than alternative building materials.