3 Eco-friendly Types Of Wood For Woodworkers & Consumers

Posted: December 31st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Green Products, Sustainable Architecture, Trees & Parks | Tags: , , , , , , | No Comments »

This post comes to us courtesy of a British company called Inwood. This is a company that makes wooden entrance gates and garage doors and from the look of their site, they are very good at it. These people work with wood and make beautiful things from it. But they are also quite sensitive to the sustainable aspects of wood growing and harvesting. I found this article to be quite interesting, and I hope you do too.

Also, since this is the last post of the year, Terry, Simon and I would like to wish you all the best in 2014.


Timber is obviously one of the planet’s most vital resources, a useful building and crafting material that’s both practical and hard wearing. However it is vitally important to make a conscious effort to maintain forest-land due to its obvious importance in helping climate, biodiversity, and critical eco-systems.

When sourcing timber there are a few key areas to consider in determining whether it is eco friendly:

  • Is the wood legally sourced from non-ancient or non-protected forests?
  • Is the wood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)?
  • Is the wood certified by other organizations? (“SmartWood by Rainforest Alliance”, “Green Seal” etc)
  • How durable is the wood?
  • How long does it take to reach maturity? (the less time, the more easily-managed the source is)

The last two points are the key to what is known as the felling/replanting balance, it is vital for the source to be planted and grow to maturity at a faster rate than it is felled. This is the fundamental key to eco-friendly timber.

We make a sustained effort to meet all these criteria that goes hand-in-hand with the type of quality we’re looking to deliver with our wooden garage doors at Inwood. Here are the some types of sustainable wood and wood alternatives that we either use or are aware of:


Strictly a wood plant rather than timber itself, and originally regarded as a poor mans material, bamboo provides a surprisingly useful wood alternative. It is incredibly strong (used as reinforcements in Asia) but also very light, making it a perfect commodity for fencing, furniture, and flooring.

The positive about bamboo and its staggering 1500 different species is that, apart from a few of the species, it is vastly less threatened than any timber source. Although vital for housing and as a food source for giant pandas and mountain gorillas, bamboo grows incredibly fast so it is easier to sensibly maintain and meet the growing demands of the wood industry.

By using bamboo you can almost safely say that you are buying from a well-managed source, and in doing so taking much needed strain off other vital timber sources.


Here at Inwood we are proud to use Accoya wood (which comes from a softwood), we find it the best suited eco-wood in our production of gates and garage doors. Softwood reaches maturity faster than hardwood, but annoyingly it also lasts for a considerably less time.

For example Scandinavian Redwood (softwood) lasts for around 10 years but grows to maturity in 25 years, but Oak (hardwood) takes up to 60 years to grow but lasts for at least 30 years.

This makes it incredibly hard to judge weather softwood or hardwood is the most eco-friendly. However, Accoya cracks this conundrum, it’s a softwood that has been scientifically modified to greatly enhance its strength and durability.

Accoya ticks many boxes it is long lasting and fast growing, helping to maintain the felling/replanting balance which many other wood sources have tipped the wrong way, leading to mass deforestation.


Many original pine forests have been ravished, but as a consequence it is now, in the UK, almost exclusively cultivated from sustainable plantations managed and certified by the FSC. Due to the dwindling number of ancient pine forests pine should not be sourced from places without an FSC label (countries such as Finland Latvia, Estonia and Russia being rife for illegal logging).

However in most of the other northern hemisphere countries pine forests and plantations are extremely well maintained (probably the best out of the major commercially important woods). This means in the main that the all-important balance between felling and replanting is being met, making pine one of the best commercial woods of choice.

About Inwood:

Inwood is a UK-based bespoke joinery company specializing in wooden garage doors, currently enjoying giving away free offcuts to local schools!

Wooden garage doors at Inwood = http://www.woodworkersuk.co.uk/wooden-garage-doors.htm

Accoya wood = http://www.accoya.com/


Toronto Tree Portraits Calendar

Posted: December 10th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Energy Conservation, green art, Trees & Parks | Tags: , , , , | No Comments »

Nothing says green like a tree, or so the saying goes. This morning I received this email from the Toronto Trees & Parks Foundation. I’d never really heard of them before, but evidently they do a lot of good things in the green spaces of the city. As part of their marketing they create and sell a calendar of tree portraits. Here’s the email they sent me:

The Toronto Tree Portraits 2014 Calendar showcases the unusually creative photographs by veteran artist Gerald Dillon, whose work features bird’s eye-views, close-ups, and bold vistas. This is the third time that esteemed author and advocate Lorraine Johnson has written the texts for the Toronto Tree Portraits Calendar. It also features a wonderful forward by photographer and writer, Vincenzo Pietropaolo.

This year’s calendar marks the 10th anniversary of this much-loved publication! Help celebrate the natural heritage of our city and support the work of the Foundation with every purchase!

Similar to previous years, the 2014 Toronto Tree Portraits Calendar is conveniently formatted as a self-standing desk calendar. It is square, measuring 7″ wide by 7″ tall. All proceeds from sale of the Calendar go directly towards preserving, enhancing and increasing Toronto’s urban forest. The Toronto Parks and Trees Foundation is a non-profit, charitable organization that works with the City of Toronto and community groups to enhance and preserve Toronto’s parks and urban forest.

The 2014 Toronto Tree Portraits is available on-line for: $23.75 including HST and shipping.

This could make a great little holiday gift. If you want to check them out, you can do that at https://torontoparksandtrees.org/

30 of the World’s Most Impressive Social Housing Projects

Posted: December 1st, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Energy Conservation, environmental challenges, Green Technology, Sustainable Architecture | No Comments »

This link comes from OGD friend Scarlett Jackson. It’s posted on a rather interesting blog called Best MSW Programs which is a guide finding the best Masters of Social Work programs. Social work in an of itself is related to sustainable practices, in that, for example, a number of new social housing projects are being built to high LEEDS standards. As the intro to this post states:

“As populations grow and cities become more crowded than ever, public housing has become an increasingly important issue for governments around the world. However, social housing is no longer limited to characterless blocks of concrete. These days, the aim is often to provide low-cost housing to individuals and families who need it – while still affording them the dignity of well-designed and distinctive homes.
These modern public housing projects frequently incorporate eco-conscious designs and elements, as efficient energy usage tends to be a priority. Here we look at 30 of the world’s social housing developments that break the mold, undoing negative stereotypes and serving as remarkable works of architecture in their own right.”

This is a fascinating look at how the world of public housing design and construction is helping to relieve the energy consumption burden of those whose taxes support these developments, while also making public housing more attractive and liveable for residents.

Check it out. It makes for some fascinating reading: http://www.bestmswprograms.com/impressive-social-housing-projects/.

Image source: http://www.koz.fr/indexhibit/index.php/project/lastrolarbre/