CYPRESS American, Sustainable, Carbon-Neutral by xps54377


									CYPRESS                                      American, Sustainable, Carbon-Neutral

  As architects build toward the            Cypress grows in the Atlantic and          Virtually all building materials have
2030 challenge of net-zero energy        Gulf coastal plains from Delaware           a carbon footprint. Science proves
construction, sustainable, carbon-       to Texas and also in the Mississippi        that wood products are unique in that
neutral building materials, such as      Valley north to southern Illinois. The      they have no carbon footprint, which
cypress, are of increased importance.    species offers legendary durability         means more carbon is sequestered
Carbon neutrality refers to any          and a naturally occurring preservative      by a tree than is emitted over its
building or material that generates      known as cypressene helps protect           entire lifecycle—through growth,
no carbon emissions, or whose net        it from insects, decay, and other           manufacture, and disposal.
carbon emissions are offset by a         damaging elements. It’s exceptionally
                                                                                        Cypress is naturally carbon-neutral
countervailing environmental action.     versatile and equally suited for interior
                                                                                     because of photosynthesis. While
For a natural carbon-neutral material,   and exterior applications ranging from
                                                                                     growing, trees absorb carbon dioxide
look no further than the nearest         flooring and paneling to siding and
                                                                                     from the atmosphere. The carbon
cypress stand.                           decking, and everything in between.
                                                                                     used for wood fiber production is
                                                                                     sequestered and stored while the
                                                                                     oxygen is released back into the
                                                                                     atmosphere. Carbon accounts for
                                                                                     nearly 50 percent of the dry weight
                                                                                     of a tree, and since cypress trees can
                                                                                     grow to be 150 feet tall and 12 feet
                                                                                     in diameter, the wood can lock in
                                                                                     substantial amounts of carbon. In
                                                                                     2002, U.S. Forest Service researcher
                                                                                     Dave Nowak and information
                                                                                     technology specialist Daniel Crane
                                                                                     co-authored a study that listed
                                                                                     cypress as one of the best species for
                                                                                     absorbing and storing carbon.
                                                                                       In addition to being carbon-neutral,
                                                                                     studies have shown that wood takes
                                                                                     less energy to manufacture products
                                                            from than other materials. Building       a sustainable resource, but also
                                                            materials such as aluminum, glass,        promote timber production and allow
                                                            plastic, cement and brick can require     young trees to grow and store carbon.
                                                            126 times more energy to process
                                                                                                         The design community is beginning
                                                            into finished goods.
                                                                                                      to recognize and appreciate the
                                                               Furthermore, virtually every part of   environmental attributes of wood.
                                                            a log is used as lumber or a wood         During a focus group at the 2008 U.S.
                                                            by-product. At the end of their useful    Green Building Council’s Greenbuild
                                                            life, wood products are re-usable,        Expo, eight green architects were
                                                            recyclable, and biodegradable. When       asked which materials they consider
                                                            these products are returned to the        to be green among wood, aluminum,
                                                            earth or burned for fuel, the stored      fiberglass, glass, plastic, steel, and
                                                            carbon is released and absorbed           vinyl. Wood was the only unanimous
                                                            by growing trees—and the cycle is         choice. Building professionals
                                                            renewed again.                            and the public at large are gaining
                                                                                                      a greater understanding of how
                                                              Tree harvesting is necessary for
                                                                                                      sustainable forest management
                                                            overall forest health. A reality of
                                                                                                      is good for the economic and
                                                            sustainable forest management is
                                                                                                      environmental health of the U.S.
                                                            that growing trees need sunlight, soil
                                                            and nutrients, and they grow more           When these virtues are viewed
                                                            rapidly when older, larger, and more      in total, it’s clear that American
                                                            mature trees do not crowd them.           cypress—not to be confused with
                                                            Harvesting also helps prevent the         imported wood or heavily-glued
                                                            spread of disease, pests, and wildfires   wood substitutes—is one of the
                                                            which disrupt the natural role trees      most sustainable and carbon-neutral
                                                            play in carbon capture. As U.S. Forest    building materials available.
                                                            Service Chief Tom Tidwell explains,
                                                            “disturbances such as fire, insects,         The Southern Cypress
                                                            and disease could dramatically            Manufacturers Association and
                                                            change the role of forests, thereby       its members are committed to
                                                            emitting more carbon than currently       sustainable forestry practices. To
                                                            sequestered.”                             learn how cypress can reduce your
                                                                                                      project or home’s carbon footprint,
                                                              Responsible forestry practices          visit
                                                            not only ensure that wood remains

Front Image (top) used under Flickr Creative Commons from Bill_Swindaman
Front Image (bottom) used under Flickr Creative Commons from Faul
Back Image (top) courtesy Josh Wynne Construction
Back Image (bottom) courtesy Acadian Cypress & Hardwoods


To top