People often ask me, "What is sustainable hardwood decking" and "what makes high density hardwood decking a green building material"? High density hardwood decking species such as Ipe decking, Garapa decking, Cumaru decking and FSC® Machiche decking are considered sustainable decking for two important but very different reasons: 1.) the long lasting nature of the sustainable decking material and 2.) the manner in which the decking is harvested. Let's take a look at the durability and long-lasting natural characteristics of sustainable hardwood decking materials first.
1.) Ipe decking and other high density hardwood decking materials are considered sustainable decking because they last so long without having to be replaced.
Sustainability is a chief concern in architecture and green building design. One of the key premises of green building and sustainable design concerns the length of time that buildings, systems or structures will last. Sustainable hardwood decking is the longest lasting decking material by far. Their are Ipe decks that have been in use for more than 40+ years. Mataverde Decking has had such great success with the longevity of its sustainable hardwood decking that they offer a 25 year limited warranty against decay and insects.
Sustainable design is a major trend in modern architecture. This green building practice is concerned not just with the short term cost and effect of a project but also the long term impact of architecture on the environment and the overall lifetime cost of an architectural design.
Life cycle cost of projects is a key consideration in the design development. Life cycle cost is defined as the overall cost of building, maintaining and disposing of a building or asset over its entire lifetime. It is easy to understand then, that high density hardwood decking materials are considered sustainable decking materials in this context. Sustainable high density hardwood decking lasts so long without having to be replaced that their overall life cycle costs are the lowest of all decking material options.
2.) Sustainable yield harvesting is another reason why high density hardwood decking is considered a sustainable decking material. FSC decking (Forest Stewardship Council) and IBAMA/SEMA decking are two methods of ensuring that high density hardwood decking is harvested in a sustainable manner.
Sustainable decking (decking harvested by sustainable yield techniques) ensures there as many trees available at the end of a harvesting cycle as there were at the beginning. The long term negative impact of harvesting is eliminated when sustainable decking is harvested in such a way.
Wood is one of the only natural resources that can renew itself within our lifetimes. Responsible forestry practices allow the eco-friendly harvesting of sustainable hardwood decking materials to meet this goal.
HELPFUL DECKING LINKS
For a wealth of information about sustainable hardwood decking and other decking material options, download the authoritative white paper, "The Ultimate Guide to Building Green with Sustainable Decking".