Timber suppliers have noticed recently that timber sliding doors have become more popular in Brisbane. Timber has inherent advantages over materials such as aluminium, including their natural beauty and superior insulation characteristics. What you may not know is that timber really leaves other materials in the dust when it comes to being sustainable.
What is Sustainability?
To simplify for the purposes of brevity, sustainability is the concept that the environment and its ecosystems must remain healthy if it is to continue to sustain life, including human life. Culture, politics, economics and ecology all play a part in creating a sustainable lifestyle.
For years, humans did what they wanted to the earth with no measurable negative impact. As science and technology advanced, we became more able to fully understand the impact our actions have on the earth. Today, the most popular measurement is the “carbon footprint.” Manufacturing processes are measured by how high the amount of greenhouse gases they produce.
This is important because greenhouse gases are responsible for climate change. It is impossible for anyone in Australia not to notice that our climate has become hotter and drier the last forty years.
Pollution is another way in which sustainability can be measured. The less toxins we create and contaminate our environment with, the more sustainable our lifestyle is. This includes air, water and soil pollution.
The key phrase is “environmentally friendly.” A material is said to be environmentally friendly if it is biodegradable, can be used for a long time without replacement and does not leave pollution or a large carbon footprint in the production process.
Environmental Impact of Other Materials
Aluminium is the most common material for doors and windows. It is probably the most environmentally friendly of other materials, but it still has a large impact on the environment. Aluminium starts out as a raw mineral called bauxite, found in equatorial soil that is similar to clay and is found a few metres into the ground.
The clay is moved to a processing facility where the bauxite is separated from the clay and then put through a grinder. Then, the bauxite is processed in a solution of lime and caustic soda, producing aluminium oxide, also known as alumina. The alumina is then heated and filtered until it becomes a white powder.
To turn it into aluminium, it is then processed by combining the powder, carbon and electricity. This turns the oxygen in the alumina into carbon dioxide and the remainder is finally aluminium. Then, it will be shaped into various products.
This process involves chemicals and turns oxygen into carbon dioxide, which leaves a huge carbon footprint. Also, the caustic lime and soda are extremely toxic when the process is finished.
How Timber is “Processed”
Timber, on the other hand, is beneficial to the environment in every way. Most timber “farms” have been planted for years. While the trees grew, they converted carbon dioxide into oxygen, which is the opposite of leaving a carbon footprint. They turned greenhouse gases into life-sustaining oxygen.
When timber is needed, trees are cut down, but they are immediately replanted. The “refining” process for timber is simple: the trees are cut into manageable pieces and are then cut into various lengths of timber. Timber does need to have a finish applied to it, but the finish stays on the timber and doesn’t produce any environmental waste except for what is left on the brushes and tarps.
Better yet, timber doesn’t have to be replaced like aluminium does. If it is maintained correctly, it lasts much longer than aluminium. In addition, if a timber surface is degraded, it can usually be fixed by refinishing.
When timber does get replaced, it is biodegradable. Aluminium isn’t. While it can be recycled, a lot of carbon is created in the process.
Adding it Together
When you add it all up, timber is by far the most sustainable choice of materials for your doors and windows. In addition, it is far superior in performance and aesthetics. Call (07) 3888 1293 to learn more.