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American Wood Council

GB700-A – Building Materials Matter

PDF SelfStudy

With an abundance of information and competing environmental claims, determining a material's true impacts can be a challenge. Questions arise on issues such as whether wood can reduce a building's carbon footprint in a meaningful way, if it is better to use recycled steel or wood from a sustainably managed forest, what extent structural materials impact operational performance, and the effects of material selection, design, and maintenance on structural resilience. This course seeks to address these and other questions. Examining materials throughout their life cycles, it focuses on international research supporting the use of wood for its carbon and other benefits while considering some of the advantages of concrete and steel. It also touches on efforts of all three industries to lessen their environmental impacts.

Learning Objectives

After reading this article, you should be able to:

  1. Compare the life cycle impacts of common building materials, from the extraction or harvest of raw materials through end-of-life disposal or recycling/reuse.
  2. Articulate the influence of wood on operational energy efficiency.
  3. Consider a growing body of research on the impacts of visual wood on occupant health and well-being.
  4. Discuss design considerations related to a building's safety, resilience, and long-term durability.

Equivalencies: 1.0 Hours of Instruction = 0.1 Continuing Education Units (CEU) = 1 Professional Development Hours (PDH) = 1 Learning Units (LU)


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