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Whittling Down Wood Waste

May/June 2006
This article originally appeared in the May/June 2006 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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May 01, 2006
From design to dumpster, residential construction offers opportunities to make more efficient use of our wood resources and products, as well as other construction material.
        Americans have been building homes with wood—shaping logs, joining timbers, nailing studs—for almost 400 years. Our current approach—stickframing—grew popular in the mid-1800s (particularly in the rapidly growing West) because it took less skill, required simpler tools, and took fewer people than timber framing. We apparently really like waste haulers, too.The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) Research Center reports that the “typical” home generates about 3,500 lb of wood waste during its construction, about half of which is solid-sawn lumber.         From design to dumpster, residential construction offers us opportunities to make more efficient use of our wood resources and products, as well as other construction material. Most of those opportunities are cost competitive and then some—besides delivering a higherperformance home. Few systems in home building offer such clear win-win propositions as the efficient use of wood.         Before Peter and Steve left the Building Science Corporation to become principals of 3-D Building Solutions, a high-performance buildings consulting firm, the three of us studied the problem of wood waste and prepared the ...

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