How to craft a great, sustainable wood product
The world’s population is growing faster than any other country on earth, and yet a small group of companies are using wood products to meet a growing need for energy efficiency.
In the process, they’re also opening a major new market for wood products.
For years, we’ve seen wood products used in many of the most common household items, from kitchen counters to kitchen cabinets.
The industry is changing, too, with a growing demand for wood-based products in the kitchen, from furniture to woodworking equipment.
This is creating a new market in wood products for homes that already sell traditional products, but are seeing a surge in the demand for sustainability products.
“This is where we are starting to see the opportunity for a new class of wood products,” says David M. Lappas, CEO of Minkwood, which offers sustainable wood products through its Wood and Glass Design division.
Wood products that are also highly energy-efficient are becoming a more common sight, as companies like Mink and ArborWood are turning to wood as a renewable energy source.
“What we’re seeing now is that there are more and more companies in the wood industry that are going after sustainability as a way to market and grow,” Lappos says.
“We’re starting to realize that there is this opportunity in the sustainability space.”
Wood products that can be reused for many uses are also becoming more common, as more wood-containing products are becoming more accessible.
And in some cases, it’s not just the use of recycled materials that makes the wood products more sustainable.
“There are different things that make wood a good material for a sustainable product,” Lippas says.
For example, a wood product that is treated with a preservative or treated with an oil can be recycled as a new product.
For wood products that use wood chips, like a woodblock, Lippos says it’s often made of recycled lumber from the same tree that used the block in the first place.
“In a lot of cases, you can actually reuse the same product that was originally used,” he says.
Lipps also sees the opportunity in products that have a natural or sustainable way of breaking down, which he calls “bio-recyclable” products.
“A bio-recycleable product is a product that can become a part of the environment, can be used for food production and can become part of a composting system,” Lips says.
Bio-reCyclable products can also help create a sustainable energy-management system, Lappes says.
As the industry continues to grow, more and better wood products are being made available.
Lips sees a trend toward using wood-like fibers in products like kitchen cabinets, woodworking and furniture, including products made from recycled materials.
“The use of a wood-derived product will go up because there are now more and faster advancements in bio-technology, and we’re getting closer and closer to sustainable wood,” he explains.
For many home makers, making wood furniture and other products is a relatively straightforward process.
There are different kinds of wood, from the more traditional ones that are known as spruce, fir or birch to the more exotic wood like mahogany.
“People will probably come to me and say, ‘I want to use this wood in my home, but I’m not sure where to start,'” says Lisa Schulz, owner of Lips Home Products in Dallas, Texas.
“I would say that a lot people just don’t know where to begin.”
“They may start with a little bit of research, and see what other people have done and then they can start to research their own options,” she says.
For Lips, her goal is to help home makers find the best product for their home, whether that’s a new wood or traditional product.
“It’s a lot like the difference between a new car and a used car,” she explains.
“You can take your old car, and make it your own, but if you don’t have the right options, you’re going to have some issues.”
To find out more about how to use wood products in your home, Lips recommends reading a few of her products.
Some of her materials, like the Wood Block and Wood Block Furniture, are made from reclaimed wood.
Others, like her Wood Decor, are built from recycled and natural materials like pine.
And her Wood Finishing and Wood Finishes, which are made of natural wood like oak, are more expensive but are less time-consuming.
To learn more about Wood Finisher, which is made from natural wood, and Wood Furnishing, which includes reclaimed wood, click here.