Sustainability is a multi-faceted goal that, when achieved, benefits homeowners, builders, and the environment alike
by Doug Rodman
With increased attention and stricter regulations on green building practices, the path to sustainability starts with a foundation of environmentally-friendly manufacturing processes. While building material manufacturers face industry pressure to practice greener habits, they’re also influenced by homeowners who value green living and desire products that lend to their specific lifestyle. In this article, I’ll take you from the importance of sustainable practices in manufacturing outdoor building products to the value of durable, strong products used to create sustainable outdoor structures.
First, it is important for manufacturers to keep up with the ever-changing green building protocols and make sure that their building processes address sustainability. For example, at LP Outdoor Building Solutions®, a manufacturer of engineered wood building products designed for use in sheds, barns and outdoor structures, we ensure that there is no wood waste in our manufacturing processes. The vast majority of the logs received at our manufacturing facilities end up in our engineered wood building products, and the limited remaining residuals are used for fuel in the manufacturing process. This process, our investment in reforestation, and our use of forest management and fiber sourcing programs that meet the standards of the Sustainable Forestry Initiative®, not only promote an eco-friendly vision, they significantly reduce our overall energy usage.
To truly consider yourself an environmentally conscious company, you must also examine how your overall business model affects surrounding environments and promotes a healthy ecosystem. Beyond the manufacturing processes, providing sustainability for the communities and environments where the manufacturing is taking place can have significant benefits on the overall landscape and your reputation as an eco-friendly company. For instance, in addition to our manufacturing processes, our manufacturing facilities help sustain rural communities with direct and indirect jobs, as well as help landowners maintain working forests across the landscape. This provides a stable habitat for a wide variety of wildlife, clean water, soil conservation, and additional recreational opportunities.
In addition to how a manufacturer’s practices impact – positively or negatively – the environment, they can also emphasize quality, lasting goods. In addition to installing a shed manufactured with green processes, like LP Outdoor Building Solutions sheds, environmentally conscious homeowners may look beyond just the initial build. For instance, they more heavily consider elements like durability and versatility. Sheds built with durable products and processes to increase their life span mean less maintenance, repairs and rebuilding, resulting in increased sustainability and less products used in the future. For instance, LP Outdoor Building Solutions sheds have incredible resistance to impact damage, thanks in part to industrial-grade adhesive resins, and special water-resistant waxes coat each strand or fiber of wood for enhanced durability in rainy, humid environments.
Additionally, environmentally minded homeowners are often looking to create a well-rounded, sustainable lifestyle. For example, if a homeowner is building a greenhouse or garden shed, they are likely looking for materials that can stand up to harsh weather conditions, protect the structure housing their plants from potential termite damage and fungal decay, and nourish their garden’s growth. The LP SmartGuard® process is particularly valuable to these shed owners as engineered wood products are treated with zinc borate, a safe, naturally-occurring additive that has been proven to effectively resist damage from termites and fungal decay for decades. Furthermore, LP ProStruct® Roof Sheathing with SilverTech® features a durable radiant barrier that helps keep sheds or other outdoor structures cooler in the heat, and its highly reflective surface helps enhance natural lighting, which minimizes the need to install artificial lighting.
With this growing industry and homeowner emphasis on sustainability, it is extremely important for industry professionals to place higher value on producing and using environmentally friendly products for homes and outdoor living structures alike. Whether or not builders want to qualify for green building credits, they should see that products, like those manufactured by LP Outdoor Building Solutions, add value to their homes by reducing energy in the manufacturing process and helping to sustain their communities. In addition, building products made with engineered wood and certified to a credible third-party certification program can help to ensure environmental sustainability for future generations and product longevity for years to come.
Doug Rodman is the Sustainability Manager for LP Building Products®. For more information, visit www.lpcorp.com