Every material has an environmental footprint, but Mass Ply Panels can reduce the environmental impact of construction when compared to traditional construction materials. The environmental benefits of producing Mass Ply Panels are carried forward into the life cycle of products made from it, such as wooden structures.
Please see our Lifecycle Analysis for a detailed examination the environmental impacts of our specific Mass Ply Products.
Wood vs. Concrete and Steel
Wood uses far less energy during primary manufacturing than any other structural material, such as concrete and steel. During its life it has better thermal performance, and at the end of its life-cycle wood is recyclable, reusable, and reclaimable.
Since it takes less energy to produce wood products compared to concrete and steel, the manufacturing process also generates less carbon. Additionally, trees are one of the most advanced carbon sequestering vehicles on earth! As trees grow they sequester carbon in their cells, which is retained after harvest and through the life of the wood product.
Studies show the volume of wood harvested each year accounts for only 20% of new annual growth. Concrete and steel are finite resources.
Mass Ply vs. Lumber-based Mass Timber products
Lumber-based Mass Timber products utilize a large volume of 2×6 and 2×8 products which require a larger diameter log than veneer-based products. In veneer manufacturing, veneer is peeled from a log on a lathe which matches the physical properties of the tree. Lumber attempts to cut a rectangular board from a round tree, which creates additional waste.
In lumber-based Mass Timber products defects can significantly affect the performance of the end product. Defects are therefor often cut from the board and pieces finger-jointed back together, generating another point of waste. In veneer-based products the defects are distributed throughout the product, and this distribution allows the natural defect to be retained without affecting performance.
Since our Mass Ply products typically perform better by volume than other Mass Timber products, less fiber is used in the design and construction of Mass Ply buildings.
All resins Freres uses to produce our engineered products, whether our primary phenol-formaldehyde (PF) resin or our secondary melamine-formaldehyde (MF) resin, contain formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a Volatile Organic Compound (VOC), which not only occurs naturally in the environment, but breaks down quickly (link to the same info as in the last sentence of this section). Some are concerned about health issues related to formaldehyde in building materials, however, evidence indicates resins do not contribute significantly to formaldehyde emitted naturally from the wood.
The California Air Research Board (CARB) exempts plywood from meeting its stringent standards. CARB produces a highly regarded regulatory standard commonly adopted by the many green rating programs such as LEED and National Green Building Council.
Mass Ply has the potential maximize the points for your next LEED certified building. Mass Ply inherently aligns with the U.S Green Building Council’s (USBG) principles with its reduced energy capabilities and its environmental benefits. Freres is currently taking steps to ensure your LEED project gets the maximum points from the use of Mass Ply (See Life-Cycle Assessment)