Timber and the Environment

SRTTA is a member of the UK Timber Trades Federation (TTF). In turn, Forests Forever is the environmental voice of the TTF. Forests Forever aims to present the environmental case for timber products, promote sustainable improvements in the overall environmental performance of the industry, encourage responsible forest practices and provide education and information to its members, specifiers, end-users and the general public.

Architects and specifiers are becoming increasingly concerned about the environmental impact of the building materials they use and recognise that they have a role to play in helping to protect the global environment.

SRTTA welcomes this concern - after all, timber has numerous environmental advantages over other building materials : it is renewable, recyclable, biodegradable and highly energy-efficient.

Life Cycle

Objective scientific research demonstrates that timber evaluated environmentally across its entire life-cycle, from extraction to processing, through in-life use and finally disposal, compares very favourably with alternative materials.


In Europe, for example, where 90% of the UK's timber is sourced from, there are more trees now than there were a century ago and the number is growing with an annual surplus of growth over harvest of some 252 million cubic metres – roughly 30 times the total annual UK consumption.

Energy efficient

It takes substantially less energy to convert timber into a usable building material than it does to manufacture either concrete or steel. Timber is also highly efficient at retaining heat – at equivalent thickness, 15 times as effective as concrete, 400 times that of steel and 1770 times better than aluminium.

Great news for the household or office building which will incur lower fuel bills and will reduce CO2 levels because less energy will be required for heating.

Timber and climate change

Forests and trees absorb carbon dioxide by converting CO2 into solid carbon - in the form of wood. It is estimated that trees absorb 25% of global fossil fuel emissions of CO2. Using one cubic metre of wood results in 0.8 tonnes of CO2 sequestration. Europe's forests alone account for some 20 billion tonnes of fixed carbon and when trees are harvested and converted into timber products, they continue to store carbon.

Recyclable and disposable

When timber reaches the end of its primary use, it can be reclaimed for use in another application or re-processed as a panel product. Modern preservative treatments have been developed to allow timber to be recycled, re-used or composted.

As an organic material, it will biodegrade easily. It is also possible to use as an alternative energy source thus reducing the demand for non-renewable fossil fuels such as oil and coal.

TTF Code of Practice

Signatories apply the Environmental Code of Practice to all wood procurement activities.

Wednesday Jun 26th 2019