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If you’re concerned with reducing your carbon footprint while remodeling your patio or building a new home, there’s good news: cedar and other wood products are an economical and eco-friendly building resource alternative to cement.

Concrete, which requires fossil fuel for production, releases a ton of toxic carbon dioxide into the atmosphere for every ton produced. Wood, on the other hand is a natural resource grown only with natural materials – sun, rain and soil – right in our backyard.

Building with wood: Good for the air we breathe

Working forests play an integral role in controlling toxic carbon emissions. The commercial forests in Washington and the harvested wood products they produce absorb and then store about 25 percent of the region’s total emissions.

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Forests are giant carbon sinks, actively cleansing the air we breath. Growing trees, particularly during the first few years after planting, suck toxic carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and turn it into clean solid carbon and atmospheric oxygen. This is done through photosynthesis.

When trees are harvested and made into lumber, the wood continues to store carbon permanently – and keep it out of the air we breath. In fact, about 50 percent of the weight of the wood used to build our houses, cabinetry and furniture is the toxic gas, safely sequestered as nature intended it to be.

The forests in Washington that are producing cedar and other wood for lumber adhere strongly to widely certified standards of sustainable forestry. This means growers are committed to:

  • Protecting fragile ecosystems.
  • Respecting native cultures and economies.
  • Preventing illegal logging.
  • Restricting clear-cutting.
  • Restricting pesticide use.

Cedar proven to be most eco-friendly for siding and decking

A recent study performed by Canada’s leading forestry research laboratory, FPInnovations-Forintek, measured the environmental impact of various building materials from cradle to grave.

Complex analysis was conducted on Western red cedar decking and siding, wood-plastic composite decking, brick, fiber-cement and vinyl against a range of measurables such as resource use, water use, energy use, transportation and waste created. Western red cedar products substantially outperformed other materials in every category.

The life cycle study covered four stages of production: resource extraction and manufacturing (cradle-to-gate manufacturing), transportation to customer, installation and use, and end-of-life disposition (landfilling). Products were measured and evaluated against six criteria that include information about the environmental impacts associated with a product or service, such as raw material acquisition, energy use, carbon footprint, emissions to air, soil and water, and waste generation.

“Western red cedar has been a bestseller at our store for years, says Stacy Kovats, marketing director at Issaquah Cedar and Lumber. “Our customers trust its strength, durability and beauty for building everything from fences and decks, to home siding.”

Additionally, all of the products at Issaquah Cedar and Lumber are locally sourced and produced on-site by people who live in the community. That means building with wood is not only good for the environment but also supports the local economy.

Issaquah Cedar and Lumber has been in business for over 115 years. We supply the Puget Sound area with the highest-quality Western red cedar products and materials, including decking, siding, beams, shakes, shingles and custom-milled cedar materials.