PERCEPTIONS OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL AND HEALTH IMPACTS OF WOOD PRODUCT USE IN BUILDINGS: A SURVEY AMONG ARCHITECTS ON THE UNITED STATES WEST COAST

Kendall Jane Conroy, Mariapaola Riggio, Chris Knowles

Abstract


The construction sector has a larger greenhouse gas reduction potential than other sectors. Selection of more sustainable materials can plan an important role alleviating greenhouse gas emissions. Humans spend 92% of their time indoors, inciting a need to ensure healthy indoor environments. Wood is a material that has many positive attributes in comparison to non-renewable construction materials such as steel and concrete, including: renewability, a smaller carbon footprint and human health benefits. Because architects are one of the key decision makers for building material selection, their perceptions of the sustainability of wood products was investigated. American Institute of Architects certified architects on the United States West Coast, a prominent area for the forest product industry and green building, were contacted to complete a questionnaire.  The responding architects indicated that they have an overall positive perception of the environmental and health impacts of using wood products in the built environment, with some concerns about the impacts building with wood can have on forests. It appears that the environmental and health impacts building materials have is important to the responding architects, but these attributes are not as important when making material decisions for a building compared to aesthetics, codes, and cost.


Keywords


architect perceptions; sustainability; wood construction industry

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