The ecological virtues of wood

Wood is the only fully renewable material and it has the ability to fix carbon dioxide, an important asset in the planetary fight against global warming.

Wood is a living being and therefore has a great ability to adapt to outdoor conditions: light, heat, humidity.

Despite its light weight, wood is resistant. It ages well, like good wine, and has no problem passing through the centuries, making it one of the most sustainable materials.

Do you want to join the ecological turnaround? You can’t go wrong with wood. But you need a minimum of knowledge so you don’t get mislead.

The ideal ecological product meets four requirements: the material comes from the region you live in, it is manufactured nearby, it is healthy and durable and can be recycled. Wood meets these requirements hands down.


But the ideal ecological world doesn’t exist yet. For now, we have to try to be as ecological as possible. On top of that is added a fairly major variable: the budget. Some products are financially accessible, others not so much. The same goes for wood.

Wood has multiple uses: siding, frame, skeleton, parquet, panelling, furniture. But you have to be careful when decoration comes into play. Mahogany, teak and ebony are formidable and highly esthetic woods, but they have a lower ecological virtue than maple or oak because they come from outside the country. Pine on the other hand is highly recommended.

For furniture, opt for hardwood, therefore avoid any type of chipboard (composite material), to protect your health. Even better if the furniture is made of recycled items. A word of advice: avoid anything that contains formaldehyde. Of course there is purely ecological furniture, but it is out of the reach of some budgets.

A more recent use for wood is gaining in popularity: wood fibre insulating panels. Excellent for sound-proofing and against the cold in winter and the heat in summer. No negative health effects. Avoid panels that contain layers of asphalt and aluminium.

There are also OSB panels, a derivative of wood structured into panels. They are often certified LEED. They are preferable to plywood. And less expensive too. A word of advice: avoid anything that contains urea formaldehyde.

Very widespread in Europe, wood fibre is taking root in Quebec. It is made up of recycled wood shavings. It’s an excellent natural insulator. The panels are used to insulate walls, partitions, floors and attics.

If you want to join the ecological turnaround, or navigate better through it, we recommend the two references below. They contain a wealth of information of all types and everything is explained clearly.


Bricoler sain pour mieux vivre chez soi, Marcel Guedj, Fleurus, 2009, 253 pages