Round Home Timber Entry

When you think ‘sustainability’, wood may not be the first building material that comes to mind. Think again!

It may not be the obvious choice for eco-friendly construction, but as we at Mandala Homes already know, the world’s oldest, most reliable building material is structurally, economically, aesthetically, and environmentally, a superior choice.

And fortunately, it’s being recognized with fresh eyes – enthusiastically embraced as a key sustainable resource of the future. Particularly when you consider the massive carbon footprint of the man-made alternatives.

Sustainably grown and harvested wood, the environmental choice

Sustainable Building BC Wood Timber

Responsibly, sustainably sourced wood is the only renewable building material available. It is naturally grown and removes CO2 from the atmosphere. Wood products store the carbon that the live trees absorbed from the air (about 50% of the dry weight of wood is carbon).

Reducing the amount of CO2 released into the atmosphere has become paramount to the future of the planet. Utilizing wood products not only contributes to eliminating atmospheric CO2 by the absorption and storing of carbon, it produces less CO2 throughout the manufacturing and building process.

With the choice of responsibly sourced wood materials, for every tree removed, a new tree is planted which then grows and absorbs more carbon, continuing the cycle.

Sustainably grown and harvested wood results in far less carbon emissions than man-made brick, concrete and steel, making it a better option, even when it comes to large buildings. For example, the carbon footprint of a timber structure is estimated to be almost 75% less than a concrete and steel building of similar size.

This applies to the production of the materials as well. Producing timber products results in significantly less carbon compared to the production of concrete, brick, and steel.

Convert a cubic meter of timber, for instance, compared to one cubic meter of concrete, you will eliminate approximately one tonne (1000kg) of carbon dioxide being released into the atmosphere.

Mandala Homes’ construction practices use the finest quality wood products, sourced from the forests of British Columbia. BC is recognized as a global leader in sustainable forest management and supplying high-quality, environmentally responsible forest products.

Used for thousands of years, wood is considered the building material of the future

Round Home Wooden Roof Truss SystemDue to the air pockets within its cellular structure, wood is a natural insulator, giving it R value and  energy efficient. When compared to other common building materials, it insulates 15 times better than concrete or brick, 400 times better than steel.

Wood is durable and structurally flexible, making it much more resistant to collapse; under the stress of an earthquake, for example. The denseness of concrete and brick make them vulnerable to cracking under pressure from seismic activity, where wood flexes, more effectively absorbing earth’s tremors.

In addition to flexibility, wood is very strong. In fact, a direct comparison shows that certain types of wood have a 20 percent higher strength-for-weight ratio than structural steel and are four to five times better than non-reinforced concrete in compression.

The architectural strength, integrity, and versatility of wood was proven effectively when, in 2016, the University of British Columbia completed construction of the largest wooden skyscraper in the world. Brock Commons, the 18-story student residence broke the record as the world’s tallest timber building and is a testament to what is possible when building.

Time is money – the economically intelligent choice

Prefab Wood Home

When we talk sustainability, economics is always part of the equation. The time saved in a wood build sets wood construction head and shoulders above the rest.

The versatility of wood allows for relatively quick build completion, particularly when it comes to pre-fab construction, which is increasing in popularity and can be built more precisely and in a fraction of the time.

Our innovative Off Site Manufacture (OSM) faceted round home construction is the perfect example. Due to the controlled environment of our production facility Mandala Homes achieves a higher degree of precision, consistency and quality control during the construction phase then is available on site.

This process provides costs savings to our clients. Materials are protected from weather and kept uniform, dry and undamaged, resulting in a higher quality building; and the component of our OSM homes take significantly less time to assemble than a house built on site.

The Brock Commons structure, as another example, was constructed in only 9 weeks due to to its prefabricated components; the entire building was completed four months ahead of what was projected if it had been constructed traditionally, entirely on site.

Additionally, mistakes made in wood construction can be easily corrected, compared to what might be involved, both in time and cost, with other materials.

Beauty unparalleled

Round Home Living Space

When it comes to one of the most significant differences and benefits between wood and other building materials, is undeniable natural beauty.

In addition to aesthetics, living with wood provides for a number of health benefits. Research conducted by Planet Ark identified a range of positive effects on well-being, physiological and psychological, when subjects spent time surrounded by wood:

  • reduced blood pressure, heart rate and stress levels
  • workers tend to suffer less stress and are more productive
  • students learn better
  • patients heal faster
  • improved air quality

At Mandala Homes, our work is rooted in traditional design principles combined with performance based building technology, which includes wood products.

We’ve always known the range of benefits of working and living with wood and it’s not only been our building material of choice but a foundational element of our construction philosophy and practices.