Wood-frame homes are more environmentally friendly than those constructed of steel or concrete, according to a new study by 15 U.S. universities and research institutes.
Additionally, the researchers, known as the Consortium for Research on Renewable Industrial Materials, or CORRIM, concluded that most of the energy required to build an average home is consumed during the manufacture of building materials – not during actual construction.
“These are landmark findings,” said Kelly McCloskey, president and CEO of the Wood Promotion Network. “This offers a first-ever snapshot of how building materials impact our environment.”
Twenty-three independent researchers collaborated on the project, which used a process called life-cycle analysis to weigh the environmental impact of home construction. Life-cycle analysis gauges the energy required to produce building materials, as well as construct, maintain and demolish a typical home over a period of 75 years.
CORRIM compared the life cycles of two hypothetical homes in Minneapolis – one with a wood frame, the other with a steel frame – and the life cycles of one...