It’s surprising but true. The transportation industry is responsible for 28% of the country’s energy consumption, but the nation’s construction and building industry accounts for 48% of all the energy produced, as well as 45% of the greenhouse gases that are emitted into the atmosphere.
Much of this results from the fossil fuel energy required to forge steel and produce concrete. (Manufacturing a ton of concrete releases a ton of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.) Wood building materials on the other hand, are relatively inexpensive to grow, manufacture and replenish because wood is natural, renewable and sustainably harvested from the nation’s working forests. Moreover, contrary to most manufacturing processes, forests produce oxygen, trees sequester carbon dioxide from the environment and store carbon in harvested wood products.
Buildings Consume Nearly Half of all the Energy Produced in the United States
The building sector consumes nearly half of all the energy produced in the United States — 48%, almost as much energy consumed by both the transportation and industry sectors combined. The Energy Information Administration estimates that the building sector’s energy consumption will grow faster than that of transportation and industry.
To create a U.S. Building Sector, the residential buildings (operations) sector, commercial buildings (operations) sector, and industrial buildings (operations and materials embodied energy estimates) were combined.
Buildings are Responsible for Nearly Half of all US CO2 Emissions
Policymakers have focused on transportation emissions as a major source of greenhouse gasses, and rightly so. But surprisingly, the building sector was responsible for nearly half — 45% of U.S. CO2 emissions in 2010. By comparison, transportation accounted for 34% of CO2 emissions and industry 21%. Wood is an effective way to slow this trend by reducing the embodied energy in building materials. Grown by the sun and nature, wood has a lower carbon footprint than other building materials such as concrete and steel.
The emergence of technologically advanced, engineered wood provides a strong, safe, affordable building product that is more sustainable, less energy intensive, and friendlier to the environment than those currently used in most buildings.