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Why use wood? Photograph of wood being used as fuel, timber industry in action, sustainable woodland management and wood used in contstruction and for products

Why use Wood?

Wood has many uses and benefits the economy and environment of Wales, it has potential for creating a wide range of business’ and jobs.  Using wood in construction, for products and as a renewable energy source also benefits the environment.  Wood acts as a carbon sink, locking carbon up in woodlands, buildings and timber products. Using wood therefore actively helps us to adapt to and mitigate the effects of Climate Change. Read about further benefits and to learn more about the how these benefits are realised below.


Benefits of using wood

  • Woodlands offer great opportunities for enterprise, with potential for real business and job creation. 
  • Using sustainably managed wood as fuel reduces CO2 emissions.
  • Adding value to wood as products can stimulate the economy through additional activity in the Welsh Forest Sector. Value is added to the timber by processing the timber into sawn and manufactured wood products and helps with job creation in Wales.
  • Wood is economically viable as a material and fuel when compared to other products and energy sources. 
  • Wood and wood products do not use high energy fossil fuels in its production, unlike manufactured goods such as steel, concrete, bricks and plastic.
  • Wood has the lowest carbon footprint of any commonly used building material. 
  • Wood is a clean, efficient, sustainable, low carbon and renewable energy source.

Read on to find out more about how the benefits of wood are realised.


How does building with wood support our economy and local communities?

The Welsh Forest Sector is worth £340m to the economy and employs over 16,000 people in hundreds of small to medium size rural businesses.  Forest Sector industries are growing in Wales.  New job opportunities are being created which will support this sector and include:

  • Green jobs which help bring under managed woodlands into productive management.
  • Green jobs developing new recreation facilities in Welsh Woodlands.
  • Green jobs creating 100,000ha of new woodlands across Wales in the next 20 years.
  • Green jobs in renewable energy projects both in woodlands and from woodland products.

How does wood reduce CO2emissions and limit climate change?

  • Wood when used in construction reduces CO2 emissions due to the reduced energy required to create wood building products compared to other building materials and through carbon storage in the building itself. 
  • Carbon can be locked up as long as several hundred years when it is used in products such as the beams of old buildings or furniture.  The wood can then be recovered, reused, recycled or used as a fuel.
  • When wood is sustainably grown and managed, woodfuel reduces CO2 emissions.  Although burning wood releases carbon dioxide, this is balanced by the carbon dioxide that has been absorbed in the original growth of the trees and in the growth of new ones. 
  • Wood requires less energy to manufacture timber products than all other building materials.
  • Wood is effective as a form of domestic heating, not only is it a storable heat source, used only when needed, but modern stoves are highly efficient and controllable.

How can value be added to wood as a product in order to stimulate the economy? 

  • Value can be added to wood through additional activity in the primary, secondary and tertiary sector. After turning trees into timber through saw milling (primary processing) it is possible to increase the market value further through manufacturing of sawn timber products (secondary processing).  Turning wood into Arts & Crafts pieces and furniture (tertiary processing) can add even more value.  This processing activity helps the Welsh economy by providing jobs in the supply and manufacturing chain.


How economically viable is using wood to build with and as a fuel?

Wood is no more expensive than other products which compete with it as a building material, product or energy source.  This can be especially true of locally sourced timber because of the major reduction in transport costs.  For more information visit the Woodland Strategy.


For more detailed information about wood and its uses, visit, Wood as Fuel, Wood in Construction, Carbon Locking and Wood Products.  Read on for more about the different types of benefits in using wood.